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Detection of Formamide, the Simplest but Crucial Amide, in a Solar-type Protostar

Abstract : Formamide (NH2CHO), the simplest possible amide, has recently been suggested to be a central species in the synthesis of metabolic and genetic molecules, the chemical basis of life. In this Letter, we report the first detection of formamide in a protostar, IRAS 16293-2422, which may be similar to the Sun and solar system progenitor. The data combine spectra from the millimeter and submillimeter TIMASSS survey with recent, more sensitive observations at the IRAM 30 m telescope. With an abundance relative to H2 of ~10-10, formamide appears as abundant in this solar-type protostar as in the two high-mass star-forming regions, Orion-KL and SgrB2, where this species has previously been detected. Given the largely different UV-illuminated environments of the three sources, the relevance of UV photolysis of interstellar ices in the synthesis of formamide is therefore questionable. Assuming that this species is formed in the gas phase via the neutral-neutral reaction between the radical NH2 and H2CO, we predict an abundance in good agreement with the value derived from our observations. The comparison of the relative abundance [NH2CHO]/[H2O] in IRAS 16293-2422 and in the coma of the comet Hale-Bopp supports the similarity between interstellar and cometary chemistry. Our results thus suggest that the abundance of some cometary organic volatiles could reflect gas phase rather than grain-surface interstellar chemistry.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 3:10:11 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:48:19 AM

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C. Kahane, C. Ceccarelli, A. Faure, E. Caux. Detection of Formamide, the Simplest but Crucial Amide, in a Solar-type Protostar. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2013, 763, ⟨10.1088/2041-8205/763/2/L38⟩. ⟨insu-03617513⟩

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