A hot core laboratory

van Broekhuizen, Fleur A.; Fraser, Helen J.; Schutte, Willem A.; de Kuijper, Ewie and van Dishoeck, Ewine F. (2002). A hot core laboratory. In: conference proceedings pp. 434–436.

URL: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003cdsf.conf..434V


The newly-built Cryogenic Photoproduct Analysis Device (CRYOPAD) will simulate Hot Core chemistry in the laboratory. Hot Cores (HC's) represent the most chemically rich areas of the insterstellar medium. They are characterised as warm (100-200K), dense (n_H_2 = 10cm-3) regions, that are in most cases associated with high mass star formation. Internal heating and ultraviolet radiation that may be present inside HC's cause processing and evaporation of ice mantles around infalling grains. This initiates a rich chemistry among the gaseous molecules that leads to the formation of a wide range of complex organics. Gas-phase chemistry models are however not always able to explain the observed molecular abundances. Therefore surface chemistry and solid state chemistry probably contribute to the production of complex organics as well.

CRYOPAD is an experimental setup that is specifically designed to study the solid state chemistry of interstellar ice analogs by radiative and thermal processing. Ultra High Vacuum conditions (8x10-11mbar) will minimize contamination of the sample, which is essential for the analysis of trace products of the processing. The gas analysis is performed in situ by a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer. Additionally CRYOPAD has the option of looking at the surface chemistry by Reflective Absorption Infrared Spectrometry in the 4000-400 cm-1 region.

The research will focus on the production of small volatile complex organics such as simple esters and ethers like methyl formate and dimethyl ether. The results will be used to interpret the observational data of HC's in further detail and to perform a directed search for molecules in space with only weak observable features. Furthermore the laboratory data will be used to refine chemical models of HC's. Thus we hope to gain a better understanding of the physical and chemical processes associated with high mass star formation.

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