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This paper provides a brief overview of the journey of molecules through the Cosmos, from local diffuse interstellar clouds and PDRs to distant galaxies, and from cold dark clouds to hot star-forming cores, protoplanetary disks, planetesimals and exoplanets. Recent developments in each area are sketched and the importance of connecting astronomy with chemistry and other disciplines is emphasized. Fourteen challenges for the field of Astrochemistry in the coming decades are formulated.
In external galaxies, some galaxies have higher activities of star formation and central supermassive black holes. The interstellar medium in those galaxies can be heated by different mechanisms such as UV-heating, X-ray heating, cosmic-ray heating, and shock/mechanical heating. Chemical compositions can also be affected by those heating mechanisms. Observations of many molecular species in those nearby galaxies are now possible with the high sensitivity of Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA). Here I cover different chemical models for those heating mechanisms. In addition, I present recent ALMA results of extragalactic astrochemistry including our results of a face-on galaxy M83 and an infrared-luminous merger NGC 3256.
At a distance of 77 Mpc, the Ultralumious galaxy Arp 220 is the closest extragalactic equivalent to Galactic hot cores. The low resolution SMA survey showed a highly excited confusion limited spectrum. The new ALMA snapshot spectral scan opens the possibility of chemically resolve the two nuclei at unprecedented sensitivity. When completed, it will be the widest survey ever done towards an extragalactic object. The model of Band 6 and 7 data already shows the chemical similarities between the interacting nuclei which may provide clues on the similar heating sources. Vibrationally excited transitions may be tracing the deeply embedded dust obscured active nuclei and/or hot compact star burst. This vibrational emission is the brightest ever measured in an extragalactic object, and even so compared with Galactic hot cores. In fact, the eastern one is the brightest in such vibrational emission. Water mega-maser emission also points towards a very compact sources likely related to star forming clumps within both Arp 220 nuclei.
The molecular composition of the stellar outflows of AGB stars is determined by the stellar elemental carbon-to-oxygen abundance ratio, together with the physical circumstances in the innermost region of the outflow. Near the stellar surface, thermal equilibrium (TE) can be assumed. This leads to a certain molecular composition with a O- or C-rich signature. However, several molecular species have been detected that are not expected to be present in the inner region under the assumption of TE chemistry. As a solution to explain the presence of these unexpected species, non-equilibrium chemistry in the inner region of the outflow has been proposed. The outflows of AGB stars are generally not spherically symmetric or homogeneous, which influences the penetration of interstellar UV photons throughout the outflow. We investigate the effect of a clumpy, non-homogeneous outflow on the composition of the inner region by introducing a simple porosity formalism in our chemical model.
Massive young stellar objects (MYSOs) in the Magellanic Clouds (MCs) show infrared absorption features corresponding to significant abundances of CO, CO2 and H2O ice along the line of sight, with the relative abundances of these ices varying between sources in the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way. We use our gas-grain chemical code MAGICKAL, with multiple grain sizes and grain temperatures, and further expand it with a treatment for increased interstellar radiation field intensity to model the elevated dust temperatures observed in the MCs. We also adjust the elemental abundances used in the chemical models, guided by observations of HII regions in these metal-poor satellite galaxies. With a grid of models, we are able to reproduce the relative ice fractions observed in MC MYSOs, indicating that metal depletion and elevated grain temperature are important drivers of the MYSO envelope ice composition. The observed shortfall in CO in the Small Magellanic Cloud can be explained by a combination of reduced carbon abundance and increased grain temperatures. The models indicate that a large variation in radiation field strength is required to match the range of observed LMC abundances.
During the first few ~Myr of a young stars life, it is encircled by a disk made up of molecular gas, dust, and ice – the building blocks for future planetary systems. How/when these disks form planets and what sets the planets initial compositions remain key outstanding questions in disk science. In recent years, major leaps in sensitivity and spatial resolution afforded by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revolutionized our understanding of protoplanetary disks chemical composition and physical properties, revealing in some cases complex radial, vertical, and azimuthal structure in the dust and gas. In this contribution, I review recent observational results and new theoretical puzzles, and how these fit into a newly emerging picture of the disk environment.
Connecting the observed composition of exoplanets to their formation sites often involves comparing the atmospheric C/O ratio to a disk midplane model with a fixed chemical composition. In this scenario chemistry during the planet formation era is not considered. However, kinetic chemical evolution during the lifetime of the gaseous disk can change the relative abundances of volatile species, thus altering the C/O ratios of planetary building blocks. In our chemical evolition models we utilize a large network of gas-phase, grain-surface and gas-grain interaction reactions, thus providing a comprehensive treatment of chemistry. The results show that, if sufficient ionisation is present, then chemistry does alter the C/O ratios of gas and ice during the epoch of planet(esimal) formation. This modifies the picture of C/O ratios in disk midplanes defined simply by volatile ice lines in a midplane of fixed chemical composition. Chemical evolution thus needs to be addressed when predicting the makeup of planets and their atmospheres.
We have analyzed rotational spectral line emission of OCS, CH3OH, HCOOCH3, and H2CS observed toward the low-mass Class 0 protostar IRAS 16293–2422 (Source A and B) at a sub-arcsecond resolution with ALMA. Significant chemical differentiation is found at a 50 au scale. OCS is found to trace the infalling-rotating envelope, while COM distributions are concentrated around the inner part of the envelope. The kinematic structure in Source A is explained with a ballistic model, and the protostellar mass and the radius of the centrifugal barrier are evaluated to be ~0.75 M⊙ and ~50 au, respectively. This study has revealed that the centrifugal barrier plays a central role not only in the disk formation but also in the associated chemical evolution.
We have detected [C I] 3P1–3P0 emissions in the gaseous debris disks of 49 Ceti and β Pictoris with the 10 m telescope of the Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment, which is the first detection of such emissions. The line profiles of [C I] are found to resemble those of CO(J=3–2) observed with the same telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. This result suggests that atomic carbon (C) coexists with CO in the debris disks, and is likely formed by the photodissociation of CO. Assuming an optically thin [C I] emission with the excitation temperature ranging from 30 to 100 K, the column density of C is evaluated to be (2.2 ± 0.2) × 1017 and (2.5 ± 0.7) × 1016 cm−2 for 49 Ceti and β Pictoris, respectively. The C/CO column density ratio is thus derived to be 54 ± 19 and 69 ± 42 for 49 Ceti and β Pictoris, respectively. These ratios are higher than those of molecular clouds and diffuse clouds by an order of magnitude. The unusually high ratios of C to CO are likely attributed to a lack of H2 molecules needed to reproduce CO molecules efficiently from C. This result implies a small number of H2 molecules in the gas disk; i.e., there is an appreciable contribution of secondary gas from dust grains.
Determining the locations of the major snowlines in protostellar environments is crucial to fully understand the planet formation process and its outcome. Despite being located far enough from the central star to be spatially resolved with ALMA, the CO snowline remains difficult to detect directly in protoplanetary disks. Instead, its location can be derived from N2H+ emission, when chemical effects like photodissociation of CO and N2 are taken into account. The water snowline is even harder to observe than that for CO, because in disks it is located only a few AU from the protostar, and from the ground only the less abundant isotopologue H218O can be observed. Therefore, using an indirect chemical tracer, as done for CO, may be the best way to locate the water snowline. A good candidate tracer is HCO+, which is expected to be particularly abundant when its main destructor, H2O, is frozen out. Comparison of H218O and H13CO+ emission toward the envelope of the Class 0 protostar IRAS2A shows that the emission from both molecules is spatially anticorrelated, providing a proof of concept that H13CO+ can indeed be used to trace the water snowline in systems where it cannot be imaged directly.
Results are presented from our ongoing studies of Titan using ALMA during the period 2012-2015, including a confirmation of the previous detection of vinyl cyanide (C2H3CN), as well as the first spatial map for this species on Titan. Simultaneous mapping of HC3N, CH3CN and C2H5CN reveal characteristic abundance patterns for each species that provide insight into their individual photochemical lifetimes, and help inform our understanding of Titan’s unique, time-variable atmospheric chemistry and global circulation. A time-sequence of HC3N maps covering 38 months reveals a dramatic change in the distribution of this gas consistent with high-altitude photochemical production followed by advection towards the southern (winter) pole, combined with rapid loss in the north after Titan’s 2009 seasonal equinox. The 2015 C2H3CN and C2H5CN maps show abundance peaks in Titan’s southern hemisphere, similar to those observed for the short-lived HC3N molecule. The longer-lived CH3CN, on the other hand, remains more concentrated in the north.
Core-accretion theory predicts that the formation of giant planets predominantly occurs at the dense mid-plane of the inner ∼50 AU of protoplanetary disks. However, due to observational limitation, this critical region remains to be the least charted area in protoplanetary disks. With its great sensitivity, ALMA recently started to image optically thin line emissions arisen from the mid-plane of the inner 50AU in nearby disks, which unlocks an exciting new path to directly constrain the physical properties of the giant planet formation zone through gas tracers. Here we present the first spatially resolved observations of the 13C18O J=3-2 line emission in the TW Hya disk. We show that this emission is optically thin even inside the CO mid-plane snowline. Combining it with the C18O J=3-2 images and the previously detected HD J=1-0 flux, we directly constrain the mid-plane temperature and optical depths of the CO gas and dust. We report a mid-plane CO snowline at 20.5 ± 1.3 AU, a mid-plane temperature distribution of 27+4−3×(R/20.5AU)-0.47+0.06−0.07 K, and a gas mass distribution of 13+8−5×(R/20.5AU)-0.9+0.4−0.3 g cm−2 between 5-20.5 AU in the TW Hya protoplanetary disk. We find a total gas/mm-sized dust mass ratio of 140 ± 40 in this region, suggesting that ∼2.4 earth mass of dust aggregates have grown to > cm sizes (and perhaps much larger).
In 2005 we suggested a relation between the optimal locus of gas giant planet formation, prior to migration, and the metallicity of the host star, based on the core accretion model, and radial profiles of dust surface density and gas temperature. At that time, less than 200 extrasolar planets were known, limiting the scope of our analysis. Here, we take into account the expanded statistics allowed by new discoveries, in order to check the validity of some premises. We compare predictions with the present available data and results for different stellar mass ranges. We find that the zero age planetary orbit (ZAPO) hypothesis continues to hold after a two order of magnitude increase in discovered planets, as well as the prediction that planets around metal poor stars would have shorter orbits.
Observationally measuring the location of the H2O snowline is crucial for understanding the planetesimal and planet formation processes, and the origin of water on Earth. The velocity profiles of emission lines from protoplanetary disks are usually affected by Doppler shift due to Keplerian rotation and thermal broadening. Therefore, the velocity profiles are sensitive to the radial distribution of the line-emitting regions. In our work (Notsu et al. 2016, 2017), we found candidate water lines to locate the position of the H2O snowline through future high-dispersion spectroscopic observations. First, we calculated the chemical composition of the disks around a T Tauri star and a Herbig Ae star using chemical kinetics. We confirmed that the abundance of H2O gas is high not only in the hot midplane region inside the H2O snowline but also in the hot surface layer and the photodesorption region of the outer disk. The position of the H2O snowline in the Herbig Ae disk exists at a larger radius from the central star than that in the T Tauri disk. Second, we calculated the H2O line profiles and identified that H2O emission lines with small Einstein A coefficients (∼10−6 − 10−3 s−1) and relatively high upper state energies (∼ 1000K) are dominated by emission from the hot midplane region inside the H2O snowline, and therefore their profiles potentially contain information which can be used to locate the position of the H2O snowline. The wavelengths of the H2O lines which are the best candidates to locate the position of the H2O snowline range from mid-infrared to sub-millimeter, and the total line fluxes tend to increase with decreasing wavelengths. We investigated the possibility of future observations using the ALMA and mid-infrared high-dispersion spectrographs (e.g., SPICA/SMI-HRS). Since the fluxes of those identified lines from a Herbig Ae disk are stronger than those of a T Tauri disk, the possibility of a successful detection is expected to increase for a Herbig Ae disk.
Planets form in disks around young stars. The planet formation process may start when the protostar and disk are still deeply embedded within their infalling envelope. However, unlike more evolved protoplanetary disks, the physical and chemical structure of these young embedded disks are still poorly constrained. We have analyzed ALMA data for 13CO, C18O and N2D+ to constrain the temperature structure, one of the critical unknowns, in the disk around L1527. The spatial distribution of 13CO and C18O, together with the kinetic temperature derived from the optically thick 13CO emission and the non-detection of N2D+, suggest that this disk is warm enough (≳ 20 K) to prevent CO freeze-out.
With the advent of ALMA, complete surveys of gas and dust in protoplanetary disks are being carried out in different star forming regions. In particular, continuum emission is used to trace the large (mm-sized) dust grains and CO isotopologues are observed in order to trace the bulk of the gas. The attempt is to simultaneously constrain the gas and dust disk mass as well as the gas/dust mass ratio. In this work the observations from the Lupus disk survey have been analyzed with thermo-chemical disk models, including radiative transfer, CO isotope-selective processes and freeze-out. We find that CO-based gas masses are very low, often smaller than 1MJ. Moreover, gas/dust mass ratios are much lower than value of 100 found in the ISM, being mainly between 1 and 10. This result can be interpreted either as rapid loss of gas, or as a chemical effect removing carbon from CO and locking it into more complex molecules or in larger bodies. Current data cannot distinguish between the two scenarios (except for sources with detected HD lines), but future observations of e.g. [CI] and hydrocarbon lines will help to calibrate CO-based gas masses and to constrain disk gas masses.
A key parameter governing the secular evolution of protoplanetary disks is their outer radius. In this paper, the feedback of realistic dust grain size distributions onto the gas emission is investigated. Models predict that the difference of dust and gas extents as traced by CO is primarily caused by differences in the optical depth of lines vs continuum. The main effect of radial drift is the sharp decrease in the intensity profile at the outer edge. The gas radial extent can easily range within a factor of 2 for models with different turbulence. A combination of grain growth and vertical settling leads to thermal de-coupling between gas and dust at intermediate scale-heights. A proper treatment of the gas thermal structure within dust gaps will be fundamental to disentangle surface density gaps from gas temperature gaps.
I review massive star formation in our Galaxy, focussing on initial conditions in Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDCs), including the search for massive pre-stellar cores (PSCs), and modeling of later stages of massive protostars, i.e., hot molecular cores (HMCs). I highlight how developments in astrochemistry, coupled with rapidly improving theoretical/computational and observational capabilities are helping to improve our understanding of the complex process of massive star formation.
The overall goal of the ESA Rosetta mission was to help decipher the origin and evolution of our solar system. Looking at the chemical composition of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is one way of doing this. The amount of very volatile species found and the insight into their isotopic abundances show that at least some presolar ice has survived the formation of the solar system. It shows that the solar nebula was not homogenized in the region where comets formed. The D/H ratio in water furthermore indicates that Jupiter family comets and Oort cloud comets probably formed in the same regions and their difference is then purely due to their different dynamical history. The organics found in 67P are very diverse, with abundant CH- and CHO- bearing species. Sulphur bearing species like S3 and S4 and others show evidence of dust grain chemistry in molecular clouds.
The level of isotopic fractionation in molecules provides insights into their formation environments and how they formed. In this article, we review hydrogen and nitrogen isotopic fractionation in low-mass star-forming regions. Interstellar molecules are significantly enriched in deuterium. The importance of the nuclear spin states of light species on deuterium fractionation and the usefulness of singly and doubly deuterated molecules as chemical tracers are discussed. Observations have revealed that molecules in prestellar cores are enriched in or depleted in 15N depending on molecules. Compared with deuterium fractionation chemistry, our understanding of 15N fractionation chemistry is not well established. We briefly discuss potential 15N fractionation routes, i.e., isotopic-exchange reactions and isotopic selective photodissociation of N2. In addition, the selective freeze-out of 15N atoms onto dust grains around the transition between N atoms and N2 is discussed as a potential mechanism that causes the depletion of 15N in the gas phase.