Radiative association of C(${}^3P$) and H${}^+$: Triplet states [CL]


The radiative association of C(${}^3P$) and H${}^+$ is investigated by calculating cross sections for photon emission into bound ro-vibrational states of CH${}^+$ from the vibrational continua of initial triplet d$\,{}^3\Pi$ or b$\,{}^3\Sigma^-$ states. Potential energy curves and transition dipole moments are calculated using multi-reference configuration interaction (MRCI) methods with AV6Z basis sets. The cross sections are evaluated using quantum-mechanical methods and rate coefficients are calculated. The rate coefficients are about 100 times larger than those for radiative association of C${}^+({}^2{P^o})$ and H from the A$\,{}^1\Pi$ state. We also confirm that the formation of CH${}^+$ by radiative association of C${}^+({}^2{P^o})$ and H via the triplet c$\,{}^3\Sigma^+$ state is a minor process.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Babb and B. McLaughlin
Tue, 28 Feb 17

Comments: 7 pages


Equation of state and shock compression of warm dense sodium – a first-principles study [SSA]


As one of the simple alkali metals, sodium has been of fundamental interest for shock physics experiments, but knowledge of its equation of state (EOS) in hot, dense regimes is not well known. By combining path integral Monte Carlo (PIMC) results for partially-ionized states [B. Militzer and K. P. Driver, Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 176403 (2015)] at high temperatures and density functional theory molecular dynamics (DFT-MD) results at lower temperatures, we have constructed a coherent equation of state for sodium over a wide density-temperature range of $1.93-11.60$ g/cm$^{3}$ and $10^3-1.29\times10^8$ K. We find that a localized, Hartree-Fock nodal structure in PIMC yields pressures and internal energies that are consistent with DFT-MD at intermediate temperatures of $2\times10^6$ K. Since PIMC and DFT-MD provide a first-principles treatment of electron shell and excitation effects, we are able to identify two compression maxima in the shock Hugoniot curve corresponding to $K$-shell and $L$-shell ionization. Our Hugoniot curves provide a benchmark for widely-used EOS models, SESAME, LEOS, and Purgatorio. Due to the low ambient density, sodium has an unusually high first compression maximum along the shock Hugoniot curve. At beyond 10$^7$ K, we show that the radiation effect leads to very high compression along the Hugoniot curve, surpassing relativistic corrections, and observe an increasing deviation of the shock and particle velocities from a linear relation. We also compute the temperature-density dependence of thermal and pressure ionization processes.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Zhang, K. Driver, F. Soubiran, et. al.
Thu, 23 Feb 17

Comments: 10 pages, 10 figures

ENDOR study of nitrogen hyperfine and quadrupole tensors in vanadyl porphyrins of heavy crude oil [CL]


We report the observation of pulsed electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectrum caused by interactions of the nitrogen nuclei 14N with the unpaired electron of the paramagnetic vanadyl complexes VO2+ of vanadyl porphyrins in natural crude oil. We provide detailed experimental and theoretical characterization of the nitrogen hyperfine and quadrupole tensors.

Read this paper on arXiv…

I. Gracheva, M. Gafurov, G. Mamin, et. al.
Tue, 21 Feb 17

Comments: 6 pages, 2 Figures

New quantum chemical computations of formamide deuteration support a gas-phase formation of this prebiotic molecule [SSA]


Based on recent work, formamide might be a potentially very important molecule in the emergence of terrestrial life. Although detected in the interstellar medium for decades, its formation route is still debated, whether in the gas phase or on the dust grain surfaces. Molecular deuteration has proven to be, in other cases, an efficient way to identify how a molecule is synthesised. For formamide, new published observations towards the IRAS16293-2422 B hot corino show that its three deuterated forms have all the same deuteration ratio, 2–5%, and that this is a factor 3–8 smaller than that measured for H2CO towards the IRAS16293-2422 protostar. Following a previous work on the gas-phase formamide formation via the reaction NH2 + H2CO -> HCONH2 + H, we present here new calculations of the rate coefficients for the production of monodeuterated formamide through the same reaction, starting from monodeuterated NH2 or H2CO. Some misconceptions regarding our previous treatment of the reaction are also cleared up. The results of the new computations show that, at the 100 K temperature of the hot corino, the rate of deuteration of the three forms is the same, within 20%. On the contrary, the reaction between non-deuterated species proceeds three times faster than that with deuterated ones. These results confirm that a gas-phase route for the formation of formamide is perfectly in agreement with the available observations.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Skouteris, F. Vazart, C. Ceccarelli, et. al.
Tue, 24 Jan 17

Comments: MNRAS in press

Inelastic cross sections and rate coefficients for collisions between CO and H2 [IMA]


A five-dimensional coupled states (5D-CS) approximation is used to compute cross sections and rate coefficients for CO+H2 collisions. The 5D-CS calculations are benchmarked against accurate six-dimensional close-coupling (6D-CC) calculations for transitions between low-lying rovibrational states. Good agreement between the two formulations is found for collision energies greater than 10 cm-1. The 5D-CS approximation is then used to compute two separate databases which include highly excited states of CO that are beyond the practical limitations of the 6D-CC method. The first database assumes an internally frozen H2 molecule and allows rovibrational transitions for v < 5 and j < 30, where v and j are the vibrational and rotational quantum numbers of the initial state of the CO molecule. The second database allows H2 rotational transitions for initial CO states with v < 5 and j < 10. The two databases are in good agreement with each other for transitions that are common to both basis sets. Together they provide data for astrophysical models which were previously unavailable.

Read this paper on arXiv…

C. Castro, K. Doan, M. Klemka, et. al.
Fri, 20 Jan 17

Comments: N/A

Rate Constants for Fine-Structure Excitations in O-H Collisions with Error Bars Obtained by Machine Learning [GA]


We present an approach using a combination of coupled channel scattering calculations with a machine- learning technique based on Gaussian Process regression to determine the sensitivity of the rate constants for non-adiabatic transitions in inelastic atomic collisions to variations of the underlying adiabatic interaction potentials. Using this approach, we improve the previous computations of the rate constants for the fine-structure transitions in collisions of O(3Pj) with atomic H. We compute the error bars of the rate constants corresponding to 20 % variations of the ab initio potentials and show that this method can be used to determine which of the individual adiabatic potentials are more or less important for the outcome of different fine-structure changing collisions.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Vieira and R. Krems
Tue, 10 Jan 17

Comments: 10 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

Importance of tunneling in H-abstraction reactions by OH radicals: The case of CH4 + OH studied through isotope-substituted analogs [GA]


We present a combined experimental and theoretical study focussing on the quantum tunneling of atoms in the reaction between CH4 and OH. The importance of this reaction pathway is derived by investigating isotope substituted analogs. Quantitative reaction rates needed for astrochemical models at low temperature are currently unavailable both in the solid state and in the gas phase. Here, we study tunneling effects upon hydrogen abstraction in CH4 + OH by focusing on two reactions: CH4 + OD -> CH3 + HDO and CD4 + OH -> CD3 + HDO. The experimental study shows that the solid-state reaction rate R(CH4 + OD) is higher than R(CD4 + OH) at 15 K. Experimental results are accompanied by calculations of the corresponding unimolecular and bimolecular reaction rate constants using instanton theory taking into account surface effects. From the work presented here, the unimolecular reactions are particularly interesting as these provide insight into reactions following a Langmuir-Hinshelwood process. The resulting ratio of the rate constants shows that the H abstraction (k(CH4 + OD)) is approximately ten times faster than D-abstraction (k(CD4 + OH)) at 65 K. We conclude that tunneling is involved at low temperatures in the abstraction reactions studied here. The unimolecular rate constants can be used by the modeling community as a first approach to describe OH-mediated abstraction reactions in the solid phase. For this reason we provide fits of our calculated rate constants that allow the inclusion of these reactions in models in a straightforward fashion.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Lamberts, G. Fedoseev, J. Kastner, et. al.
Thu, 22 Dec 16

Comments: Accepted by A&A

Search for Interstellar monohydric Thiols [GA]


It has been pointed out by various astronomers that very interesting relationship exists between interstellar alcohols and the corresponding thiols (sulfur analogue of alcohols) as far as the spectroscopic properties and chemical abundances are concerned. Monohydric alcohols such as methanol and ethanol are widely observed and 1-propanol is recently claimed to have been seen in Orion KL. Among the monohydric thiols, methanethiol (chemical analogue of methanol), has been firmly detected in Orion KL and Sgr B2(N2) and ethanethiol (chemical analogue of ethanol) has been claimed to be observed in Sgr B2(N2) though the confirmation of this detection is yet to come. It is very likely that higher order thiols could be observed in these regions. In this paper, we study the formation of monohydric alcohols and their thiol analogues. Based on our quantum chemical calculation and chemical modeling, we find that `Tg’ conformer of 1-propanethiol is a good candidate of astronomical interest. We present various spectroscopically relevant parameters of this molecule to assist its future detection in the Interstellar medium (ISM).

Read this paper on arXiv…

P. Gorai, A. Das, A. Das, et. al.
Fri, 9 Dec 16

Comments: 13 pages, 4 figures, Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal

Quantum tunneling during interstellar surface-catalyzed formation of water: the reaction H + H$_2$O$_2$ $\rightarrow$ H$_2$O + OH [CL]


The final step of the water formation network on interstellar grain surfaces starting from the H + O$_2$ route is the reaction between H and H$_2$O$_2$. This reaction is known to have a high activation energy and therefore at low temperatures it can only proceed via tunneling. To date, however, no rate constants are available at temperatures below 200 K. In this work, we use instanton theory to compute rate constants for the title reaction with and without isotopic substitutions down to temperatures of 50 K. The calculations are based on density functional theory, with additional benchmarks for the activation energy using unrestricted single-reference and multireference coupled-cluster single-point energies. Gas-phase bimolecular rate constants are calculated and compared with available experimental data not only for H + H$_2$O$_2$ $\rightarrow$ H$_2$O + OH, but also for H + H$_2$O$_2$ $\rightarrow$ H$_2$ + HO$_2$. We find a branching ratio where the title reaction is favored by at least two orders of magnitude at 114 K. In the interstellar medium this reaction predominantly occurs on water surfaces, which increases the probability that the two reactants meet. To mimic this one, two, or three spectator H2O molecules are added to the system. Eley-Rideal bimolecular and Langmuir-Hinshelwood unimolecular rate constants are presented here. The kinetic isotope effects for the various cases are compared to experimental data as well as to expressions commonly used in astrochemical models. Both the rectangular barrier and the Eckart approximations lead to errors of about an order of magnitude. Finally, fits of the rate constants are provided as input for astrochemical models.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Lamberts, P. Samanta, A. Kohn, et. al.
Thu, 1 Dec 16

Comments: Accepted for publication by Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2016. Supplementary information available: this http URL

Quantum tunneling during interstellar surface-catalyzed formation of water: the reaction H + H$_2$O$_2$ $\rightarrow$ H$_2$O + OH [CL]


The final step of the water formation network on interstellar grain surfaces starting from the H + O$_2$ route is the reaction between H and H$_2$O$_2$. This reaction is known to have a high activation energy and therefore at low temperatures it can only proceed via tunneling. To date, however, no rate constants are available at temperatures below 200 K. In this work, we use instanton theory to compute rate constants for the title reaction with and without isotopic substitutions down to temperatures of 50 K. The calculations are based on density functional theory, with additional benchmarks for the activation energy using unrestricted single-reference and multireference coupled-cluster single-point energies. Gas-phase bimolecular rate constants are calculated and compared with available experimental data not only for H + H$_2$O$_2$ $\rightarrow$ H$_2$O + OH, but also for H + H$_2$O$_2$ $\rightarrow$ H$_2$ + HO$_2$. We find a branching ratio where the title reaction is favored by at least two orders of magnitude at 114 K. In the interstellar medium this reaction predominantly occurs on water surfaces, which increases the probability that the two reactants meet. To mimic this one, two, or three spectator H2O molecules are added to the system. Eley-Rideal bimolecular and Langmuir-Hinshelwood unimolecular rate constants are presented here. The kinetic isotope effects for the various cases are compared to experimental data as well as to expressions commonly used in astrochemical models. Both the rectangular barrier and the Eckart approximations lead to errors of about an order of magnitude. Finally, fits of the rate constants are provided as input for astrochemical models.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Lamberts, P. Samanta, A. Kohn, et. al.
Tue, 29 Nov 16

Comments: Accepted for publication by Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2016. Supplementary information available: this http URL

Predicted reentrant melting of dense hydrogen at ultra-high pressures [CL]


The phase diagram of hydrogen is one of the most important challenges in high-pressure physics and astrophysics. Especially, the melting of dense hydrogen is complicated by dimer dissociation, metallization and nuclear quantum effect of protons, which together lead to a cold melting of dense hydrogen when above 500 GPa. Nonetheless, the variation of the melting curve at higher pressures is virtually uncharted. Here we report that using ab initio molecular dynamics and path integral simulations based on density functional theory, a new atomic phase is discovered, which gives an uplifting melting curve of dense hydrogen when beyond 2 TPa, and results in a reentrant solid-liquid transition before entering the Wigner crystalline phase of protons. The findings greatly extend the phase diagram of dense hydrogen, and put metallic hydrogen into the group of alkali metals, with its melting curve closely resembling those of lithium and sodium.

Read this paper on arXiv…

H. Geng and Q. Wu
Mon, 7 Nov 16

Comments: 27 pages, 10 figures

Missing Fe: hydrogenated iron nanoparticles [SSA]


Although it was found that the FeH lines exist in the spectra of some stars, none of the spectral features in the ISM have been assigned to this molecule. We suggest that iron atoms interact with hydrogen and produce Fe-H nanoparticles which sometimes contain many H atoms. We calculate infrared spectra of hydrogenated iron nanoparticles using density functional theory methods and find broad, overlapping bands. Desorption of H2 could induce spinning of these small Fe-H dust grains. Some of hydrogenated iron nanoparticles posses magnetic and electric moments and should interact with electromagnetic fields in the ISM. Fe_nH_m nanoparticles could contribute to the polarization of the ISM and the anomalous microwave emission. We discuss the conditions required to form FeH and Fe_nH_m in the ISM.

Read this paper on arXiv…

G. Bilalbegovic, A. Maksimovic and V. Mohacek-Grosev
Wed, 2 Nov 16

Comments: accepted for publications in MNRAS Letters

Visible absorptions of potential diffuse ISM hydrocarbons: C$_9$H$_9$ and C$_9$H$_5$ radicals [CL]


The laboratory detection of previously unobserved resonance-stabilized C$_9$H$_5$ and C$_9$H$_9$ radicals in the supersonic expansion of a hydrocarbon discharge source is reported. The radicals are tentatively assigned as acetylenic-substituted cyclopentadienyl C$_9$H$_5$ and vinyl-substituted benzyl C$_9$H$_9$ species. They are found to feature visible absorption bands that coincide with a few very weak diffuse interstellar bands toward HD183143 and HD204827.

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Steglich, S. Maity and J. Maier
Tue, 25 Oct 16

Comments: 5 figures, 3 tables

Nitrile versus isonitrile adsorption at interstellar grains surfaces: I – Hydroxylated surfaces [GA]


Almost 20% of the ~ 200 different species detected in the interstellar and circumstellar media present a carbon atom linked to nitrogen by a triple bond. Among these 37 molecules, 30 are nitrile R-CN compounds, the remaining seven belonging to the isonitrile R-NC family. How these species behave in presence of the grain surfaces is still an open question. In this contribution we investigate whether the difference between nitrile and isonitrile functional groups may induce differences in the adsorption energies of the related isomers at the surfaces of interstellar grains of different nature and morphologies. The question was addressed by means of a concerted experimental and theoretical study of the adsorption energies of CH3CN and CH3NC on the surface water ice and silica. The experimental determination of the molecule – surface interaction energies was carried out using temperature programmed desorption (TPD) under an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) between 70 and 160 K. Theoretically, the question was addressed using first principle periodic density functional theory (DFT) to represent the organized solid support. The most stable isomer (CH3CN) interacts more efficiently with the solid support than the higher energy isomer (CH3NC) for water ice and silica. Comparing with the HCN and HNC pair of isomers, the simulations show an opposite behaviour, in which isonitrile HNC are more strongly adsorbed than nitrile HCN provided that hydrogen bonds are compatible with the nature of the model surface. The present study confirms that the strength of the molecule surface interaction between isomers is not related to their intrinsic stability but instead to their respective ability to generate different types of hydrogen bonds.

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Bertin, M. Doronin, J. Fillion, et. al.
Tue, 18 Oct 16

Comments: Astronomy and Astrophysics 2016

Submillimeter spectroscopy of H$_2$C$^{17}$O and a revisit of the rotational spectra of H$_2$C$^{18}$O and H$_2$C$^{16}$O [GA]


The rotational spectrum of the formaldehyde isotopologue H2C(17)O was investigated between 0.56 and 1.50 THz using a sample of natural isotopic composition. In addition, transition frequencies were determined for H2C(18)O and H2C(16)O between 1.37 and 1.50 THz. The data were combined with critically evaluated literature data to derive improved sets of spectroscopic parameters which include (17)O or H nuclear hyperfine structure parameters.

Read this paper on arXiv…

H. Muller and F. Lewen
Mon, 10 Oct 16

Comments: 7 pages, 1 figure, 1 table; J. Mol. Spectrosc., accepted

Formation of the prebiotic molecule NH$_2$CHO on astronomical amorphous solid water surfaces: accurate tunneling rate calculations [CL]


Investigating how formamide forms in the interstellar medium is a hot topic in astrochemistry, which can contribute to our understanding of the origin of life on Earth. We have constructed a QM/MM model to simulate the hydrogenation of isocyanic acid on amorphous solid water surfaces to form formamide. The binding energy of HNCO on the ASW surface varies significantly between different binding sites, we found values between $\sim$0 and 100 kJ mol$^{-1}$. The barrier for the hydrogenation reaction is almost independent of the binding energy, though. We calculated tunneling rate constants of H + HNCO $\rightarrow$ NH$_2$CO at temperatures down to 103 K combining QM/MM with instanton theory. Tunneling dominates the reaction at such low temperatures. The tunneling reaction is hardly accelerated by the amorphous solid water surface compared to the gas phase for this system, even though the activation energy of the surface reaction is lower than the one of the gas-phase reaction. Both the height and width of the barrier affect the tunneling rate in practice. Strong kinetic isotope effects were observed by comparing to rate constants of D + HNCO $\rightarrow$ NHDCO. At 103 K we found a KIE of 231 on the surface and 146 in the gas phase. Furthermore, we investigated the gas-phase reaction NH$_2$ + H$_2$CO $\rightarrow$ NH$_2$CHO + H and found it unlikely to occur at cryogenic temperatures. The data of our tunneling rate constants are expected to significantly influence astrochemical models.

Read this paper on arXiv…

L. Song and J. Kastner
Wed, 5 Oct 16

Comments: N/A

Theory of Gas Phase Scattering and Reactivity for Astrochemistry [IMA]


Because of the very peculiar conditions of chemistry in many astrophysical gases (low densities, mostly low temperatures, kinetics-dominated chemical evolution), great efforts have been devoted to study molecular signatures and chemical evolution. While experiments are being performed in many laboratories, it appears that the efforts directed towards theoretical works are not as strong.
This report deals with the present status of chemical physics/physical chemistry theory, for the qualitative and quantitative understanding of kinetics of molecular scattering, being it reactive or inelastic. By gathering several types of expertise, from applied mathematics to physical chemistry, dialog is made possible, as a step towards new and more adapted theoretical frameworks, capable of meeting the theoretical, methodological and numerical challenges of kinetics-dominated gas phase chemistry in astrophysical environments.
A state of the art panorama is presented, alongside present-day strengths and shortcomings. However, coverage is not complete, being limited in this report to actual attendance of the workshop. Some paths towards relevant progress are proposed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

L. Wiesenfeld, W. Thi, P. Caselli, et. al.
Tue, 4 Oct 16

Comments: 24 pages, 7 figures. White paper reporting a workshop held in Garching, Nov 23-Dec 4, 2015

Accurate Enthalpies of Formation of Astromolecules: Energy, Stability and Abundance [GA]


Accurate enthalpies of formation are reported for known and potential astromolecules using high level ab initio quantum chemical calculations. A total of 130 molecules comprising of 31 isomeric groups and 24 cyanide/isocyanide pairs with atoms ranging from 3 to 12 have been considered. The results show an interesting, surprisingly not well explored, relationship between energy, stability and abundance (ESA) existing among these molecules. Among the isomeric species, isomers with lower enthalpies of formation are more easily observed in the interstellar medium compared to their counterparts with higher enthalpies of formation. Available data in literature confirm the high abundance of the most stable isomer over other isomers in the different groups considered. Potential for interstellar hydrogen bonding accounts for the few exceptions observed. Thus, in general, it suffices to say that the interstellar abundances of related species are directly proportional to their stabilities. The immediate consequences of this relationship in addressing some of the whys and wherefores among astromolecules and in predicting some possible candidates for future astronomical observations are discussed. Our comprehensive results on 130 molecules indicate that the available experimental enthalpy of formation for some molecules, such as NaCN, may be less reliable and new measurements may be needed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

E. Etim and E. Arunan
Mon, 3 Oct 16

Comments: 40 pages, 11 Tables and 12 Figures

High-resolution IR absorption spectroscopy of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the 3 μm region: Role of periphery [GA]


In this work we report on high-resolution IR absorption studies that provide a detailed view on how the peripheral structure of irregular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) affects the shape and position of their 3 {\mu}m absorption band. To this purpose we present mass-selected, high-resolution absorption spectra of cold and isolated phenanthrene, pyrene, benz[a]antracene, chrysene, triphenylene, and perylene molecules in the 2950-3150 cm-1 range. The experimental spectra are compared with standard harmonic calculations, and anharmonic calculations using a modified version of the SPECTRO program that incorporates a Fermi resonance treatment utilizing intensity redistribution. We show that the 3 {\mu}m region is dominated by the effects of anharmonicity, resulting in many more bands than would have been expected in a purely harmonic approximation. Importantly, we find that anharmonic spectra as calculated by SPECTRO are in good agreement with the experimental spectra. Together with previously reported high-resolution spectra of linear acenes, the present spectra provide us with an extensive dataset of spectra of PAHs with a varying number of aromatic rings, with geometries that range from open to highly-condensed structures, and featuring CH groups in all possible edge configurations. We discuss the astrophysical implications of the comparison of these spectra on the interpretation of the appearance of the aromatic infrared 3 {\mu}m band, and on features such as the two-component emission character of this band and the 3 {\mu}m emission plateau.

Read this paper on arXiv…

E. Maltseva, A. Petrignani, A. Candian, et. al.
Fri, 30 Sep 16

Comments: Accepted for publication on The Astrophysical Journal

ExoMol line lists XVIII. The high temperature spectrum of VO [SSA]


An accurate line list, VOMYT, of spectroscopic transitions is presented for hot VO. The 13 lowest electronic states are considered. Curves and couplings are based on initial {\it ab initio} electronic structure calculations and then tuned using available experimental data. Dipole moment curves, used to obtain transition intensities, are computed using high levels of theory (e.g. MRCI/aug-cc-pVQZ using state-specific or minimal-state CAS for dipole moments). This line list contains over 277 million transitions between almost 640,000 energy levels. It covers the wavelengths longer than 0.29 $\mu$m and includes all transitions from energy levels within the lowest nine electronic states which have energies less than 20,000 \cm{} to upper states within the lowest 13 electronic states which have energies below 50,000 \cm{}. The line lists give significantly increased absorption at infrared wavelengths compared to currently available VO line lists. The full line lists is made available in electronic form via the CDS database and at http://www.exomol.com.

Read this paper on arXiv…

L. McKemmish, S. Yurchenko and J. Tennyson
Wed, 21 Sep 16

Comments: MNRAS in press

Radiative cooling of H3O+ and its deuterated isotopologues [CL]


In conjunction with ab initio potential energy and dipole moment surfaces for the electronic ground state, we have made a theoretical study of the radiative lifetimes for the hydronium ion H$_3$O$^{+}$ and its deuterated isotopologues. We compute the ro-vibrational energy levels and their associated wavefunctions together with Einstein coefficients for the electric dipole transitions. A detailed analysis of the stability of the ro-vibrational states have been carried out and the longest-living states of the hydronium ions have been identified. We report estimated radiative lifetimes and cooling functions for temperatures $<$ 200 K. A number of long-living meta-stable states are identified, capable of population trapping.

Read this paper on arXiv…

V. Melnikov, S. Yurchenko, J. Tennyson, et. al.
Tue, 20 Sep 16

Comments: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016

A Comprehensive Study of Hydrogen Adsorbing to Amorphous Water-Ice: Defining Adsorption in Classical Molecular Dynamics [GA]


Gas-grain and gas-phase reactions dominate the formation of molecules in the interstellar medium (ISM). Gas-grain reactions require a substrate (e.g. a dust or ice grain) on which the reaction is able to occur. The formation of molecular hydrogen (H$_2$) in the ISM is the prototypical example of a gas-grain reaction. In these reactions, an atom of hydrogen will strike a surface, stick to it, and diffuse across it. When it encounters another adsorbed hydrogen atom, the two can react to form molecular hydrogen and then be ejected from the surface by the energy released in the reaction. We perform in-depth classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of hydrogen atoms interacting with an amorphous water-ice surface. This study focuses on the first step in the formation process; the sticking of the hydrogen atom to the substrate. We find that careful attention must be paid in dealing with the ambiguities in defining a sticking event. The technical definition of a sticking event will affect the computed sticking probabilities and coefficients. Here, using our new definition of a sticking event, we report sticking probabilities and sticking coefficients for nine different incident kinetic energies of hydrogen atoms [5 K – 400 K] across seven different temperatures of dust grains [10 K – 70 K]. We find that probabilities and coefficients vary both as a function of grain temperature and incident kinetic energy over the range of 0.99 – 0.22.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Dupuy, S. Lewis and P. Stancil
Fri, 19 Aug 16

Comments: 30 pages, 10 figures, 2 tables

Kinetics and mechanisms of the acid-base reaction between NH$_3$ and HCOOH in interstellar ice analogs [IMA]


Interstellar complex organic molecules (COMs) are commonly observed during star formation, and are proposed to form through radical chemistry in icy grain mantles. Reactions between ions and neutral molecules in ices may provide an alternative cold channel to complexity, as ion-neutral reactions are thought to have low or even no energy barriers. Here we present a study of a the kinetics and mechanisms of a potential ion-generating acid-base reaction between NH$_{3}$ and HCOOH to form the salt NH$_{4}^{+}$HCOO$^{-}$. We observe salt growth at temperatures as low as 15K, indicating that this reaction is feasible in cold environments. The kinetics of salt growth are best fit by a two-step model involving a slow “pre-reaction” step followed by a fast reaction step. The reaction energy barrier is determined to be 70 $\pm$ 30K with a pre-exponential factor 1.4 $\pm$ 0.4 x 10$^{-3}$ s$^{-1}$. The pre-reaction rate varies under different experimental conditions and likely represents a combination of diffusion and orientation of reactant molecules. For a diffusion-limited case, the pre-reaction barrier is 770 $\pm$ 110K with a pre-exponential factor of $\sim$7.6 x 10$^{-3}$ s$^{-1}$. Acid-base chemistry of common ice constituents is thus a potential cold pathway to generating ions in interstellar ices.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Bergner, K. Oberg, M. Rajappan, et. al.
Tue, 2 Aug 16

Comments: N/A

Partition functions 1: Improved partition functions and thermodynamic quantities for normal, equilibrium, and ortho and para molecular hydrogen [CL]


Aims. In this work we rigorously show the shortcomings of various simplifications that are used to calculate the total internal partition function. These shortcomings can lead to errors of up to 40 percent or more in the estimated partition function. These errors carry on to calculations of thermodynamic quantities. Therefore a more complicated approach has to be taken.
Methods. Seven possible simplifications of various complexity are described, together with advantages and disadvantages of direct summation of experimental values. These were compared to what we consider the most accurate and most complete treatment (case 8). Dunham coefficients were determined from experimental and theoretical energy levels of a number of electronically excited states of H$_2$ . Both equilibrium and normal hydrogen was taken into consideration.
Results. Various shortcomings in existing calculations are demonstrated, and the reasons for them are explained. New partition functions for equilibrium, normal, and ortho and para hydrogen are calculated and thermodynamic quantities are reported for the temperature range 1 – 20000 K. Our results are compared to previous estimates in the literature. The calculations are not limited to the ground electronic state, but include all bound and quasi-bound levels of excited electronic states. Dunham coefficients of these states of H$_2$ are also reported.
Conclusions. For most of the relevant astrophysical cases it is strongly advised to avoid using simplifications, such as a harmonic oscillator and rigid rotor or ad hoc summation limits of the eigenstates to estimate accurate partition functions and to be particularly careful when using polynomial fits to the computed values. Reported internal partition functions and thermodynamic quantities in the present work are shown to be more accurate than previously available data.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Popovas and U. Jorgensen
Mon, 18 Jul 16

Comments: Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics, 22 pages, 10 figures, 28 tables

Molecular Polymorphism: Microwave Spectra, Equilibrium Structures, and an Astronomical Investigation of the HNCS Isomeric Family [GA]


The rotational spectra of thioisocyanic acid (HNCS), and its three energetic isomers (HSCN, HCNS, and HSNC) have been observed at high spectral resolution by a combination of chirped-pulse and Fabry-P\'{e}rot Fourier-transform microwave spectroscopy between 6 and 40~GHz in a pulsed-jet discharge expansion. Two isomers, thiofulminic acid (HCNS) and isothiofulminic acid (HSNC), calculated here to be 35-37~kcal/mol less stable than the ground state isomer HNCS, have been detected for the first time. Precise rotational, centrifugal distortion, and nitrogen hyperfine coupling constants have been determined for the normal and rare isotopic species of both molecules; all are in good agreement with theoretical predictions obtained at the coupled cluster level of theory. On the basis of isotopic spectroscopy, precise molecular structures have been derived for all four isomers by correcting experimental rotational constants for the effects of rotation-vibration calculated theoretically. Formation and isomerization pathways have also been investigated; the high abundance of HSCN relative to ground state HNCS, and the detection of strong lines of SH using CH$_3$CN and H$_2$S, suggest that HSCN is preferentially produced by the radical-radical reaction HS + CN. A radio astronomical search for HSCN and its isomers has been undertaken toward the high-mass star-forming region Sgr B2(N) in the Galactic Center with the 100 m Green Bank Telescope. While we find clear evidence for HSCN, only a tentative detection of HNCS is proposed, and there is no indication of HCNS or HSNC at the same rms noise level. HSCN, and tentatively HNCS, displays clear deviations from a single-excitation temperature model, suggesting weak masing may be occurring in some transitions in this source.

Read this paper on arXiv…

B. McGuire, M. Martin-Drumel, S. Thorwirth, et. al.
Thu, 14 Jul 16

Comments: Accepted in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics

Non-thermal production and escape of OH from the upper atmosphere of Mars [EPA]


We present a theoretical analysis of formation and kinetics of hot OH molecules in the upper atmosphere of Mars produced in reactions of thermal molecular hydrogen and energetic oxygen atoms. Two major sources of energetic O considered are the photochemical production, via dissociative recombination of O$_{2}^{+}$ ions, and energizing collisions with fast atoms produced by the precipitating Solar Wind (SW) ions, mostly H$^+$ and He$^{2+}$, and energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) originating in the charge-exchange collisions between the SW ions and atmospheric gases. Energizing collisions of O with atmospheric secondary hot atoms, induced by precipitating SW ions and ENAs, are also included in our consideration. The non-thermal reaction O + H$_2(v,j) \rightarrow$ H + OH$(v’,j’)$ is described using recent quantum-mechanical state-to-state cross sections, which allow us to predict non-equilibrium distributions of excited rotational and vibrational states $(v’,j’)$ of OH and expected emission spectra. A fraction of produced translationally hot OH is sufficiently energetic to overcome Mars’ gravitational potential and escape into space, contributing to the hot corona. We estimate the total escape flux from dayside of Mars for low solar activity conditions at about $5\times10^{22}$ s$^{-1}$, or about 0.1\% of the total escape rate of atomic O and H. The described non-thermal OH production mechanism is general and expected to contribute to the evolution of atmospheres of the planets, satellites, and exoplanets with similar atmospheric compositions.

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Gacesa, N. Lewkow and V. Kharchenko
Thu, 14 Jul 16

Comments: 18 pages, 6 figures; submitted to Icarus; comments & suggestions welcome

ExoMol molecular line lists – XVII The rotation-vibration spectrum of hot SO$_3$ [EPA]


Sulphur trioxide (SO$_3$) is a trace species in the atmospheres of the Earth and Venus, as well as well as being an industrial product and an environmental pollutant. A variational line list for $^{32}$S$^{16}$O$_{3}$, named UYT2, is presented containing 21 billion vibration-rotation transitions. UYT2 can be used to model infrared spectra of SO$_3$ at wavelengths longwards of 2 $\mu$m ($\nu < 5000$ cm$^{-1}$) for temperatures up to 800 K. Infrared absorption cross sections are also recorded at 300 and 500 C are used to validate the UYT2 line list. The intensities in UYT2 are scaled to match the measured cross sections. The line list is made available in electronic form as supplementary data to this article and at \url{www.exomol.com}.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Underwood, S. Yurchenko, J. Tennyson, et. al.
Wed, 6 Jul 16

Comments: 15 pages, 10 figures, 9 tables MNRAS submitted

Temperature Dependent Product Yields for the Spin Forbidden Singlet Channel of the C(3P) + C2H2 Reaction [GA]


The atomic hydrogen formation channels of the C + C2H2 reaction have been investigated using a continuous supersonic flow reactor over the 52 K 296 K temperature range. H-atoms were detected directly at 121.567 nm by vacuum ultraviolet laser induced fluorescence. Absolute H-atom yields were determined by comparison with the H-atom signal generated by the C + C2H4 reaction. The product yields agree with earlier crossed beam experiments employing universal detection methods. Incorporating these branching ratios in a gas-grain model of dense interstellar clouds increases the cC3H abundance. This reaction is a minor source of C3 containing molecules in the present simulations.

Read this paper on arXiv…

K. Hickson, J. Loison and V. Wakelam
Wed, 6 Jul 16

Comments: 15 pages, 3 figures

ExoMol line lists XV: A new hot line list for hydrogen peroxide [EPA]


A computed line list for hydrogen peroxide, H$_2{}^{16}$O$_2$, applicable to temperatures up to $T=1250$~K is presented. A semi-empirical high accuracy potential energy surface is constructed and used with an {\it ab initio} dipole moment surface as input TROVE to compute 7.5 million rotational-vibrational states and around 20 billion transitions with associated Einstein-$A$ coefficients for rotational excitations up to $J=85$. The resulting APTY line list is complete for wavenumbers below 6~000 cm$^{-1}$ ($\lambda < 1.67$~$\mu$m) and temperatures up to 1250~K. Room-temperature spectra are compared with laboratory measurements and data currently available in the HITRAN database and literature. Our rms with line positions from the literature is 0.152 \cm\ and our absolute intensities agree better than 10\%. The full line list is available from the CDS databas

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Al-Refaie, O. Polyansky, R. Ovsyannikov, et. al.
Tue, 5 Jul 16

Comments: 14 pages, 8 figures, 7 tables

Predissociation of methyl cyanoformate: The HCN and HNC channels [CL]


We present a combined experimental and theoretical investigation of the 193 nm photolysis of the cyano-ester, methyl cyanoformate (MCF). Specifically, nanosecond time-resolved infrared emission spectroscopy was used to monitor the ro-vibrationally excited photoproducts generated in the photolysis reaction. The signal-to-noise of all time-resolved spectra were enhanced using the recently developed algorithm, spectral reconstruction analysis, which allowed observation of previously obscured minor resonances, and revealed new dissociation channels producing HCN and HNC. Spectral fit analysis of the nascent HCN and electronically excited CN($A^2\Pi_1$) resonances yield a lower bound estimate for the HCN quantum yield of ca. 0.42$\pm$0.24%. Multi-configuration self-consistent field calculations were used to interrogate the ground and four lowest energy singlet excited states of MCF. At 193 nm, dissociation is predicted to occur predominantly on the repulsive S$_2$ state. Nevertheless, minor pathways leading to the production of highly excited ground state MCF are available via cascading internal conversion from nascent S$_2$ population. An automated transition-state search algorithm was employed to identify the corresponding ground state dissociation channels, and Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus and Kinetic Monte Carlo kinetic simulations were used to calculate the associated branching ratios. The proposed mechanism was validated by direct comparison of the experimentally measured and quasi-classical trajectory deduced nascent internal energy distribution of HCN, which were found to be in near perfect agreement. The propensity for cyano containing hydrocarbons to act as photolytic sources for ro-vibrationally excited HCN and HNC, as well as their significance to astrophysical environments, are discussed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Wilhelm, E. Martinez-Nunez, J. Gonzalez-Vazquez, et. al.
Tue, 21 Jun 16

Comments: 10 pages, 8 figures

Quadrupole association and dissociation of hydrogen in the early Universe [GA]


Radiative association and photodissociation rates are calculated for quadrupole transitions of H2. A complete set of bound and unbound states are included in a self-consistent master equation to obtain steady-state concentrations for a dilute system of hydrogen atoms and molecules. Phenomenological rate constants computed from the steady-state concentrations satisfy detailed balance for any combination of matter and radiation temperature. Simple formulas are derived for expressing the steady-state distributions in terms of equilibrium distributions. The rate constant for radiative association is found to be generally small for all temperature combinations. The photodissociation rate constant for quadrupole transitions is found to dominate the rate constants for other H2 photodestruction mechanisms for radiation temperatures less than or equal to 3000 K. Implications for the formation and destruction of H2 in the early universe are discussed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

R. Forrey
Wed, 1 Jun 16

Comments: N/A

Reaction Rates and Kinetic Isotope Effects of H$_2$ + OH $\rightarrow$ H$_2$O + H [CL]


We calculated reaction rate constants including atom tunneling of the reaction of dihydrogen with the hydroxy radical down to a temperature of 50 K. Instanton theory and canonical variational theory with microcanonical optimized multidimensional tunneling (CVT/$\mu$OMT) were applied using a fitted potential energy surface [J. Chem. Phys. 138, 154301 (2013)]. All possible protium/deuterium isotopologues were considered. Atom tunneling increases at about 250 K (200 K for deuterium transfer). Even at 50 K the rate constants of all isotopologues remain in the interval $ 4 \cdot 10^{-20}$ to $4 \cdot 10^{-17}$ cm$^3$ s$^{-1}$ , demonstrating that even deuterated versions of the title reaction are possibly relevant to astrochemical processes in molecular clouds. The transferred hydrogen atom dominates the kinetic isotope effect at all temperatures.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Meisner and J. Kastner
Tue, 31 May 16

Comments: title page, 16 pages, followed by 6 pages of SI

Collisional excitation of HC3N by para- and ortho-H2 [GA]


New calculations for rotational excitation of cyanoacetylene by collisions with hydrogen molecules are performed to include the lowest 38 rotational levels of HC3N and kinetic temperatures to 300 K. Calculations are based on the interaction potential of Wernli et al. A&A, 464, 1147 (2007) whose accuracy is checked against spectroscopic measurements of the HC3N-H2 complex. The quantum coupled-channel approach is employed and complemented by quasi-classical trajectory calculations. Rate coefficients for ortho-H2 are provided for the first time. Hyperfine resolved rate coefficients are also deduced. Collisional propensity rules are discussed and comparisons between quantum and classical rate coefficients are presented. This collisional data should prove useful in interpreting HC3N observations in the cold and warm ISM, as well as in protoplanetary disks.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Faure, F. Lique and L. Wiesenfeld
Fri, 13 May 16

Comments: 8 pages, 2 tables, 4 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

Experimental energy levels and partition function of the $^{12}$C$_2$ molecule [GA]


The carbon dimer, the $^{12}$C$_2$ molecule, is ubiquitous in astronomical environments. Experimental-quality rovibronic energy levels are reported for $^{12}$C$_2$, based on rovibronic transitions measured for and among its singlet, triplet, and quintet electronic states, reported in 42 publications. The determination utilizes the Measured Active Rotational-Vibrational Energy Levels (MARVEL) technique. The 23,343 transitions measured experimentally and validated within this study determine 5,699 rovibronic energy levels, 1,325, 4,309, and 65 levels for the singlet, triplet, and quintet states investigated, respectively. The MARVEL analysis provides rovibronic energies for six singlet, six triplet, and two quintet electronic states. For example, the lowest measurable energy level of the \astate\ state, corresponding to the $J=2$ total angular momentum quantum number and the $F_1$ spin-multiplet component, is 603.817(5) \cm. This well-determined energy difference should facilitate observations of singlet–triplet intercombination lines which are thought to occur in the interstellar medium and comets. The large number of highly accurate and clearly labeled transitions that can be derived by combining MARVEL energy levels with computed temperature-dependent intensities should help a number of astrophysical observations as well as corresponding laboratory measurements. The experimental rovibronic energy levels, augmented, where needed, with {\it ab initio} variational ones based on empirically adjusted and spin-orbit coupled potential energy curves obtained using the \Duo\ code, are used to obtain a highly accurate partition function, and related thermodynamic data, for $^{12}$C$_2$ up to 4,000 K.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Furtenbacher, I. Szabo, A. Csaszar, et. al.
Fri, 6 May 16

Comments: ApJ Supplements (in press), 48 pages

The C(3P) + NH3 reaction in interstellar chemistry: I. Investigation of the product formation channels [GA]


The product formation channels of ground state carbon atoms, C(3P), reacting with ammonia, NH3, have been investigated using two complementary experiments and electronic structure calculations. Reaction products are detected in a gas flow tube experiment (330 K, 4 Torr) using tunable VUV photoionization coupled with time of flight mass spectrometry. Temporal profiles of the species formed and photoionization spectra are used to identify primary products of the C + NH3 reaction. In addition, H-atom formation is monitored by VUV laser induced fluorescence from room temperature to 50 K in a supersonic gas flow generated by the Laval nozzle technique. Electronic structure calculations are performed to derive intermediates, transition states and complexes formed along the reaction coordinate. The combination of photoionization and laser induced fluorescence experiments supported by theoretical calculations indicate that in the temperature and pressure range investigated, the H + H2CN production channel represents 100% of the product yield for this reaction. Kinetics measurements of the title reaction down to 50 K and the effect of the new rate constants on interstellar nitrogen hydride abundances using a model of dense interstellar clouds are reported in paper II.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Bourgalais, M. Capron, R. Kailasanathan, et. al.
Tue, 29 Mar 16

Comments: N/A

The ExoMol database: molecular line lists for exoplanet and other hot atmospheres [GA]


The ExoMol database (www.exomol.com) provides extensive line lists of molecular transitions which are valid over extended temperatures ranges. The status of the current release of the database is reviewed and a new data structure is specified. This structure augments the provision of energy levels (and hence transition frequencies) and Einstein $A$ coefficients with other key properties, including lifetimes of individual states, temperature-dependent cooling functions, Land\’e $g$-factors, partition functions, cross sections, $k$-coefficients and transition dipoles with phase relations. Particular attention is paid to the treatment of pressure broadening parameters. The new data structure includes a definition file which provides the necessary information for utilities accessing ExoMol through its application programming interface (API). Prospects for the inclusion of new species into the database are discussed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Tennyson, S. Yurchenko, A. Al-Refaie, et. al.
Mon, 21 Mar 16

Comments: 68 pages, 24 Tables, 1 figure. Submitted to J. Molec. Spectrosc. special issue on spectroscopic databases

Analytical Models of Exoplanetary Atmospheres. III. Gaseous C-H-O-N Chemistry with 9 Molecules [EPA]


We present novel, analytical, equilibrium-chemistry formulae for the abundances of molecules in hot exoplanetary atmospheres that include the carbon, oxygen and nitrogen networks. Our hydrogen-dominated solutions involve acetylene (C$_2$H$_2$), ammonia (NH$_3$), carbon dioxide (CO$_2$), carbon monoxide (CO), ethylene (C$_2$H$_4$), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), methane (CH$_4$), molecular nitrogen (N$_2$) and water (H$_2$O). By considering only the gaseous phase, we prove that the mixing ratio of carbon monoxide is governed by a decic equation (polynomial equation of degree 10). We validate our solutions against numerical calculations of equilibrium chemistry that perform Gibbs free energy minimization and demonstrate that they are accurate for temperatures from 500–3000 K. In hydrogen-dominated atmospheres, the ratio of abundances of HCN to CH$_4$ is nearly constant across a wide range of carbon-to-oxygen ratios, which makes it a robust diagnostic of the metallicity in the gas phase. Our validated formulae allow for the convenient benchmarking of chemical kinetics codes and provide an efficient way of enforcing chemical equilibrium in atmospheric retrieval calculations.

Read this paper on arXiv…

K. Heng and S. Tsai
Fri, 18 Mar 16

Comments: 6 pages, 4 figures

Nitrogen Substituted Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon As Capable Interstellar Infrared Spectrum Source Considering Astronomical Chemical Evolution Step To Biological Organic Purine And Adenine [CL]


In order to find out capable chemical evolution step from astronomically created organic in interstellar space to biological organic on the earth, infrared spectrum of nitrogen substituted carbon pentagon-hexagon coupled polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon was analyzed by the density functional theory. Ionization was modeled from neutral to tri-cation. Among one nitrogen and two nitrogen substituted NPAH, we could find good examples showing similar IR behavior with astronomically well observed one as like C8H6N1, C7H5N2, and C7H5N2. We can imagine that such ionized NPAH may be created in interstellar space by attacks of high energy nitrogen and photon. Whereas, in case of three and four nitrogen substituted cases as like C6H4N3 and C5H3N4, there were no candidate showing similar behavior with observed one. Also, IR of typical biological organic with four and five nitrogen substituted one as like purine and adenine resulted no good similarity with observed one. By such theoretical comparison, one capable story of chemical evolution of PAH in interstellar space was that one and two nitrogen substituted carbon pentagon-hexagon molecules may have a potential to be created in interstellar space, whereas more than three nitrogen substituted molecules including biological organic purine and adenine may not be synthesized in space, possibly on the earth.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Ota
Fri, 11 Mar 16

Comments: 17pages, 16Figures, 6 Tables

Methylacetylene (CH3CCH) and propene (C3H6) formation in cold dense clouds: a case of dust grain chemistry [GA]


We present an extensive review of gas phase reactions producing methylacetylene and propene showing that these relatively abundant unsaturated hydrocarbons cannot be synthesized through gas-phase reactions. We explain the formation of propene and methylacetylene through surface hydrogenation of C3 depleted onto interstellar ices, C3 being a very abundant species in the gas phase.

Read this paper on arXiv…

K. Hickson, V. Wakelam and J. Loison
Thu, 10 Mar 16

Comments: N/A

Direct measurement of desorption and diffusion energies of O and N atoms physisorbed on amorphous surfaces [SSA]


Physisorbed atoms on the surface of interstellar dust grains play a central role in solid state astrochemistry. Their surface reactivity is one source of the observed molecular complexity in space. In experimental astrophysics, the high reactivity of atoms also constitutes an obstacle to measuring two of the fundamental properties in surface physics, namely desorption and diffusion energies, and so far direct measurements are non-existent for O and N atoms. We investigated the diffusion and desorption processes of O and N atoms on cold surfaces in order to give boundary conditions to astrochemical models. Here we propose a new technique for directly measuring the N- and O-atom mass signals. Including the experimental results in a simple model allows us to almost directly derive the desorption and diffusion barriers of N atoms on amorphous solid water ice (ASW) and O atoms on ASW and oxidized graphite. We find a strong constraint on the values of desorption and thermal diffusion energy barriers. The measured barriers for O atoms are consistent with recent independent estimations and prove to be much higher than previously believed (E$_{des}=1410_{-160}^{+290}$; E$_{dif}=990_{-360}^{+530}$ K on ASW). As for oxygen atoms, we propose that the combination E$_{des}$-E$_{dif}$=1320-750 K is a sensible choice among the possible pairs of solutions. Also, we managed to measure the desorption and diffusion energy of N atoms for the first time (E$_{des}=720_{-80}^{+160}$; E$_{dif}=525_{-200}^{+260}$ K on ASW) in the thermal hopping regime and propose that the combination E$_{des}$-E$_{dif}$=720-400 K can be reasonably adopted in models. The value of E$_{dif}$ for N atoms is slightly lower than previously suggested, which implies that the N chemistry on dust grains might be richer.

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Minissale, E. Congiu and F. Dulieu
Thu, 10 Mar 16

Comments: N/A

The sequence to hydrogenate coronene cations: A journey guided by magic numbers [CL]


The understanding of hydrogen attachment to carbonaceous surfaces is essential to a wide variety of research fields and technologies such as hydrogen storage for transportation, precise localization of hydrogen in electronic devices and the formation of cosmic H2. For coronene cations as prototypical Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules, the existence of magic numbers upon hydrogenation was uncovered experimentally. Quantum chemistry calculations show that hydrogenation follows a site-specific sequence leading to the appearance of cations having 5, 11, or 17 hydrogen atoms attached, exactly the magic numbers found in the experiments. For these closed-shell cations, further hydrogenation requires appreciable structural changes associated with a high transition barrier. Controlling specific hydrogenation pathways would provide the possibility to tune the location of hydrogen attachment and the stability of the system. The sequence to hydrogenate PAHs, leading to PAHs with magic numbers of H atoms attached, provides clues to understand that carbon in space is mostly aromatic and partially aliphatic in PAHs. PAH hydrogenation is fundamental to assess the contribution of PAHs to the formation of cosmic H2.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Cazaux, L. Boschman, N. Rougeau, et. al.
Wed, 9 Mar 16

Comments: Published in Scientific reports from Nature publishing group

On the formation of molecules and solid-state compounds from the AGB to the PN phases [SSA]


During the asymptoyic giant branch (AGB) phase, different elements are dredge-up to the stellar surface depending on progenitor mass and metallicity. When the mass loss increases at the end of the AGB, a circumstellar dust shell is formed, where different (C-rich or O-rich) molecules and solid-state compounds are formed. These are further processed in the transition phase between AGB stars and planetary nebulae (PNe) to create more complex organic molecules and inorganic solid-state compounds (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, fullerenes, and graphene precursors in C-rich environments and oxides and crystalline silicates in O-rich ones). We present an observational review of the different molecules and solid-state materials that are formed from the AGB to the PN phases. We focus on the formation routes of complex fullerene (and fullerene-based) molecules as well as on the level of dust processing depending on metallicity.

Read this paper on arXiv…

D. Garcia-Hernandez and A. Manchado
Thu, 3 Mar 16

Comments: 8 pages, 4 figures, Invited Review in “The 11th Pacific Rim Conference on Stellar Astrophysics: Physics and Chemistry of the Late Stages of Stellar Evolution”, IOP Publishing Ltd. (in press)

VUV photo-processing of PAH cations: quantitative study on the ionization versus fragmentation processes [GA]


Interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are strongly affected by the absorption of vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photons in the interstellar medium (ISM), yet the branching ratio between ionization and fragmentation is poorly studied. This is crucial for the stability and charge state of PAHs in the ISM in different environments, affecting in turn the chemistry, the energy balance, and the contribution of PAHs to the extinction and emission curves. We studied the interaction of PAH cations with VUV photons in the 7-20 eV range from the synchrotron SOLEIL beamline, DESIRS. We recorded by action spectroscopy the relative intensities of photo-fragmentation and photo-ionization for a set of eight PAH cations ranging in size from 14 to 24 carbon atoms, with different structures. At photon energies below ~13.6 eV fragmentation dominates for the smaller species, while for larger species ionization is immediately competitive after the second ionization potential (IP). At higher photon energies, all species behave similarly, the ionization yield gradually increases, leveling off between 0.8 and 0.9 at ~18 eV. Among isomers, PAH structure appears to mainly affect the fragmentation cross section, but not the ionization cross section. We also measured the second IP for all species and the third IP for two of them, all are in good agreement with theoretical ones confirming that PAH cations can be further ionized in the diffuse ISM. Determining actual PAH dication abundances in the ISM will require detailed modeling. Our measured photo-ionization yields for several PAH cations provide a necessary ingredient for such models.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Zhen, S. Castillo, C. Joblin, et. al.
Wed, 17 Feb 16

Comments: Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal

Radiative lifetimes and cooling functions for astrophysically important molecules [SSA]


Extensive line lists generated as part of the ExoMol project are used to compute lifetimes for individual rotational, rovibrational and rovibronic excited states, and temperature-dependent cooling functions by summing over all dipole-allowed transitions for the states concerned. Results are presented for SiO, CaH, AlO, ScH, H$_2$O and methane. The results for CH$_4$ are particularly unusual with 4 excited states with no dipole-allowed decay route and several others where these decays lead to exceptionally long lifetimes. These lifetime data should be useful in models of masers and estimates of critical densities, and can provide a link with laboratory measurements. Cooling functions are important in stellar and planet formation.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Tennyson, K. Hulme, O. Naim, et. al.
Mon, 1 Feb 16

Comments: 16 pages, 10 figures

Single and Double Photoionization and Photodissociation of Toluene by Soft X-rays in Circumstellar Environment [SSA]


The formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their methyl derivatives occurs mainly in the dust shells of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. The bands at 3.3 and 3.4 $\mu$m, observed in infrared emission spectra of several objects, are attributed C-H vibrational modes in aromatic and aliphatic structures, respectively. In general, the feature at 3.3 $\mu$m is more intense than the 3.4 $\mu$m. Photoionization and photodissociation processes of toluene, the precursor of methylated PAHs, were studied using synchrotron radiation at soft X-ray energies around the carbon K edge with time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Partial ion yields of a large number of ionic fragments were extracted from single and 2D-spectra, where electron-ion coincidences have revealed the doubly charged parent-molecule and several doubly charged fragments containing seven carbon atoms with considerable abundance. \textit{Ab initio} calculations based on density functional theory were performed to elucidate the chemical structure of these stable dicationic species. The survival of the dications subjected to hard inner shell ionization suggests that they could be observed in the interstellar medium, especially in regions where PAHs are detected. The ionization and destruction of toluene induced by X-rays were examined in the T Dra conditions, a carbon-rich AGB star. In this context, a minimum photodissociation radius and the half-life of toluene subjected to the incidence of the soft X-ray flux emitted from a companion white dwarf star were determined.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Monfredini, F. Fantuzzi, M. Nascimento, et. al.
Wed, 27 Jan 16

Comments: 11 pages, 4 figures, accept for publication in ApJ

Exploring molecular complexity with ALMA (EMoCA): Alkanethiols and alkanols in Sagittarius B2(N2) [GA]


Over the past five decades, radio astronomy has shown that molecular complexity is a natural outcome of interstellar chemistry, in particular in star forming regions. However, the pathways that lead to the formation of complex molecules are not completely understood and the depth of chemical complexity has not been entirely revealed. In addition, the sulfur chemistry in the dense interstellar medium is not well understood.
We want to know the relative abundances of alkanethiols and alkanols in the Galactic Center source Sagittarius B2(N2), the northern hot molecular core in Sgr B2(N), whose relatively small line widths are favorable for studying the molecular complexity in space.
We investigated spectroscopic parameter sets that were able to reproduce published laboratory rotational spectra of ethanethiol and studied effects that modify intensities in the predicted rotational spectrum of ethanol. We used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in its Cycles~0 and 1 for a spectral line survey of Sagittarius B2(N) between 84 and 114.4 GHz. These data were analyzed by assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) for each molecule. Our observations are supplemented by astrochemical modeling; a new network is used for the first time that includes reaction pathways for alkanethiols.
The column density ratios involving methanol, ethanol, and methanethiol in Sgr B2(N2) are similar to values reported for Orion KL, but those involving ethanethiol are significantly different and suggest that the detection of ethanethiol reported toward Orion KL is uncertain. Our chemical model presently does not permit the prediction of sufficiently accurate column densities of alkanethiols or their ratios among alkanethiols and alkanols. Therefore, additional observational results are required to establish the level of C2H5SH in the dense and warm interstellar medium with certainty.

Read this paper on arXiv…

H. Muller, A. Belloche, L. Xu, et. al.
Thu, 17 Dec 15

Comments: Astron. Astrophys., accepted; 14 pages of manuscript with figure and tables plus 23 pages of additional online figures. Abstract here shortened considerably

Rotational spectra of isotopic species of methyl cyanide, CH3CN, in their v8 = 1 excited vibrational states [GA]


Methyl cyanide is an important trace molecule in space, especially in star-forming regions where it is one of the more common molecules used to derive kinetic temperatures.
We want to obtain accurate spectroscopic parameters of minor isotopologs of methyl cyanide in their lowest excited v8 = 1 vibrational states to support astronomical observations, in particular, with interferometers such as ALMA.
The laboratory rotational spectrum of methyl cyanide in natural isotopic composition has been recorded from the millimeter to the terahertz regions.
Transitions with good signal-to-noise ratios could be identified for the three isotopic species CH3(13)CN, (13)CH3CN, and CH3C(15)N up to about 1.2 THz (J” <= 66). Accurate spectroscopic parameters were obtained for all three species.
The present data were already instrumental in identifying v8 = 1 lines of methyl cyanide with one (13)C in IRAM 30 m and ALMA data toward Sagittarius B2(N).

Read this paper on arXiv…

H. Muller, B. Drouin, J. Pearson, et. al.
Thu, 17 Dec 15

Comments: 6 pages, 1 figure, accepted at A&A

Threshold Energies for Single Carbon Knockout from Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons [CL]


We have measured absolute cross sections for ultrafast (fs) single-carbon knockout from Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) cations as functions of He-PAH center-of-mass collision energy in the range 10-200 eV. Classical Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations cover this range and extend up to 10$^5$ eV. The shapes of the knockout cross sections are well described by a simple analytical expression yielding experimental and MD threshold energies of $E_{th}^{Exp}=32.5\pm 0.4$ eV and $E_{th}^{MD}=41.0\pm 0.3$ eV, respectively. These are the first measurements of knockout threshold energies for molecules isolated \emph{in vacuo}. We further deduce semi-empirical (SE) and MD displacement energies — \emph{i.e.} the energy transfers to the PAH molecules at the threshold energies for knockout — of $T_{disp}^{SE}=23.3\pm 0.3$ eV and $T_{disp}^{MD}=27.0\pm 0.3$ eV. The semi-empirical results compare favorably with measured displacement energies for graphene $T_{disp}=23.6$ eV [Meyer \emph{et al.} Phys. Rev Lett. \textbf{108} 196102 (2012) and \textbf{110} 239902 (2013)].

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Stockett, M. Gatchell, T. Chen, et. al.
Thu, 19 Nov 15

Comments: N/A

Quantum Calculation of Inelastic CO Collisions with H. II. Pure Rotational Quenching of High Rotational Levels [GA]


Carbon monoxide is a simple molecule present in many astrophysical environments, and collisional excitation rate coefficients due to the dominant collision partners are necessary to accurately predict spectral line intensities and extract astrophysical parameters. We report new quantum scattering calculations for rotational deexcitation transitions of CO induced by H using the three-dimensional potential energy surface~(PES) of Song et al. (2015). State-to-state cross sections for collision energies from 10$^{-5}$ to 15,000~cm$^{-1}$ and rate coefficients for temperatures ranging from 1 to 3000~K are obtained for CO($v=0$, $j$) deexcitation from $j=1-45$ to all lower $j’$ levels, where $j$ is the rotational quantum number. Close-coupling and coupled-states calculations were performed in full-dimension for $j$=1-5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 while scaling approaches were used to estimate rate coefficients for all other intermediate rotational states. The current rate coefficients are compared with previous scattering results using earlier PESs. Astrophysical applications of the current results are briefly discussed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

K. Walker, L. Song, B. Yang, et. al.
Tue, 17 Nov 15

Comments: 8 figures, 1 table

Potential formation of three pyrimidine bases in interstellar regions [CL]


Work on the chemical evolution of pre-biotic molecules remains incomplete since the major obstacle is the lack of adequate knowledge of rate coefficients of various reactions which take place in interstellar conditions. In this work, we study the possibility of forming three pyrimidine bases, namely, cytosine, uracil and thymine in interstellar regions. Our study reveals that the synthesis of uracil from cytosine and water is quite impossible under interstellar circumstances. For the synthesis of thymine, reaction between uracil and :CH2 is investigated. Since no other relevant pathways for the formation of uracil and thymine were available in the literature, we consider a large gas-grain chemical network to study the chemical evolution of cytosine in gas and ice phases. Our modeling result shows that cytosine would be produced in cold, dense interstellar conditions. However, presence of cytosine is yet to be established. We propose that a new molecule, namely, C4N3OH5 could be observable in the interstellar region. C4N3OH5 is a precursor (Z isomer of cytosine) of cytosine and far more abundant than cytosine. We hope that observation of this precursor molecule would enable us to estimate the abundance of cytosine in interstellar regions. We also carry out quantum chemical calculations to find out the vibrational as well as rotational transitions of this precursor molecule along with three pyrimidine bases.

Read this paper on arXiv…

L. Majumdar, P. Gorai, A. Das, et. al.
Mon, 16 Nov 15

Comments: 38 pages, 7 figures, Accepted in Astrophysics and Space Science