H-atom bombardment of CO2, HCOOH, and CH3CHO containing ices
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Context: Hydrogenation reactions are expected to be among the most important surface reactions on interstellar ices. However, solid state astrochemical laboratory data on reactions of H-atoms with common interstellar ice constituents are largely lacking. Aims: The goal of our laboratory work is to determine whether and how carbon dioxide (CO2), formic acid (HCOOH) and acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) react with H-atoms in the solid state at low temperatures and to derive reaction rates and production
... and production yields. Methods: Pure CO2, HCOOH and CH3CHO interstellar ice analogues are bombarded by H-atoms in an ultra-high vacuum experiment. The ices are monitored by reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy and the reaction products are detected in the gas phase through temperature programmed desorption to determine the destruction and formation yields as well as the corresponding reaction rates. Results: Within the sensitivity of our set-up we conclude that H-atom bombardment of pure CO2 and HCOOH ice does not result in detectable reaction products. The upper limits on the reaction rates are less or equal to 7e(-17) cm^2/s which make it unlikely that these species play a major role in the formation of more complex organics in interstellar ices due to reactions with H-atoms. In contrast, CH3CHO does react with H-atoms. At most 20% is hydrogenated to ethanol (C2H5OH) and a second reaction route leads to the break-up of the C-C bond to form solid state CH4 (~20%) as well as H2CO and CH3OH (15-50%). The methane production yield is expected to be equal to the summed yield of H2CO and CH3OH and therefore CH4 most likely evaporates partly after formation due to the high exothermicity of the reaction. The reaction rates for CH3CHO destruction depend on ice temperature and not on ice thickness.