Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 665A, 96-96 (2022/9-1)
Resolving desorption of complex organic molecules in a hot core. Transition from non-thermal to thermal desorption or two-step thermal desorption?
BUSCH L.A., BELLOCHE A., GARROD R.T., MULLER H.S.P. and MENTEN K.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
Context. The presence of many interstellar complex organic molecules (COMs) in the gas phase in the vicinity of protostars has long been associated with their formation on icy dust grain surfaces before the onset of protostellar activity, and their subsequent thermal co-desorption with water, the main constituent of the grains' ice mantles, as the protostar heats its environment to ∼100 K.
Aims. Using the high angular resolution provided by the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA), we want to resolve the COM emission in the hot molecular core Sagittarius B2 (N1) and thereby shed light on the desorption process of COMs in hot cores.
Methods. We used data taken as part of the 3 mm spectral line survey Re-exploring Molecular Complexity with ALMA (ReMoCA) to investigate the morphology of COM emission in Sagittarius B2 (N1). We also used ALMA continuum data at 1 mm taken from the literature. Spectra of ten COMs (including one isotopologue) were modelled under the assumption of local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) and population diagrams were derived for these COMs for positions at various distances to the south and west from the continuum peak. Based on this analysis, we produced resolved COM rotation temperature and column density profiles. H2 column density profiles were derived from dust continuum emission and C18O 1-0 emission and used to derive COM abundance profiles as a function of distance and temperature. These profiles are compared to astrochemical models.
Results. Based on the morphology, a rough separation into O- and N-bearing COMs can be done. The temperature profiles span a range of 80-300 K with power-law indices from -0.4 to -0.8, which is in agreement with expectations of protostellar heating of an envelope with optically thick dust. Column density and abundance profiles reflect a similar trend as seen in the morphology. While abundances of N-bearing COMs peak only at the highest temperatures, those of most O-bearing COMs peak at lower temperatures and remain constant or decrease towards higher temperatures. Many abundance profiles show a steep increase at ∼100 K. To a great extent, the observed results agree with results of astrochemical models that, besides the co-desorption with water, predict that O-bearing COMs are mainly formed on dust-grain surfaces at low temperatures, while at least some N-bearing COMs and CH3CHO are substantially formed in the gas phase at higher temperatures.
Conclusions. Our observational results, in comparison with model predictions, suggest that COMs that are exclusively or, to a great extent, formed on dust grains desorb thermally at ∼100 K from the grain surface, likely alongside water. A dependence on the COM binding energy is not evident from our observations. Non-zero abundance values below ∼100 K suggest that another desorption process of COMs is at work at these low temperatures: either non-thermal desorption or partial thermal desorption related to the lower binding energies experienced by COMs in the outer, water-poor ice layers. In either case, this is the first time that the transition between two regimes of COM desorption has been resolved in a hot core.
© L. A. Busch et al. 2022
astrochemistry - methods: observational - stars: formation - ISM: molecules - submillimeter: ISM - ISM: clouds
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