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Complex Molecules toward Low-mass Protostars: The Serpens Core




  • Öberg, Karin I., van der Marel, Nienke, Kristensen, Lars E. and van Dishoeck, Ewine F.


  • Gas-phase complex organic molecules are commonly detected toward high-mass protostellar hot cores. Detections toward low-mass protostars and outflows are comparatively rare, and a larger sample is the key to investigate how the chemistry responds to its environment. Guided by the prediction that complex organic molecules form in CH3OH-rich ices and thermally or non-thermally evaporate with CH3OH, we have identified three sight lines in the Serpens core—SMM1, SMM4, and SMM4-W—which are likely to be rich in complex organics. Using the IRAM 30 m telescope, narrow lines (FWHM of 1-2 km s-1) of CH3CHO and CH3OCH3 are detected toward all sources, HCOOCH3 toward SMM1 and SMM4-W, and C2H5OH not at all. Beam-averaged abundances of individual complex organics range between 0.6% and 10% with respect to CH3OH when the CH3OH rotational temperature is applied. The summed complex organic abundances also vary by an order of magnitude, with the richest chemistry toward the most luminous protostar SMM1. The range of abundances compare well with other beam-averaged observations of low-mass sources. Complex organic abundances are of the same order of magnitude toward low-mass protostars and high-mass hot cores, but HCOOCH3 is relatively more important toward low-mass protostars. This is consistent with a sequential ice photochemistry, dominated by CHO-containing products at low temperatures and early times. Based on observations carried out with the IRAM 30 m telescope. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany), and IGN (Spain).

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Publication Date

  • 2011



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