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Journal Articles The Astrophysical Journal Year : 2020

Chemical Desorption versus Energy Dissipation: Insights from Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics of HCO· Formation

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Abstract

Molecular clouds are the cold regions of the Milky Way where stars form. They are enriched by rather complex molecules. Many of these molecules are believed to be synthesized on the icy surfaces of the interstellar submicron-sized dust grains that permeate the Galaxy. At 10 K thermal desorption is inefficient and, therefore, why these molecules are found in the cold gas has tantalized astronomers for years. The assumption of the current models, called chemical desorption, is that the molecule formation energy released by the chemical reactions at the grain surface is partially absorbed by the grain and the remaining energy causes the ejection of the newly formed molecules into the gas. Here we report accurate ab initio molecular dynamics simulations aimed at studying the fate of the energy released by the first reaction of the H· addition chain to CO, H· + CO $\to $ HCO·, occurring on a crystalline ice surface model. We show that about 90% of the HCO· formation energy is injected toward the ice in the first picosecond, leaving HCO· with an energy content (10-15 kJ mol-1) of less than half its binding energy (30 kJ mol-1). As a result, in agreement with laboratory experiments, we conclude that chemical desorption is inefficient for this specific system, namely H· + CO on crystalline ice. We suspect this behavior to be quite general when dealing with hydrogen bonds, which are responsible for both the cohesive energy of the ice mantle and the interaction with adsorbates, as HCO·, even though ad hoc simulations are needed to draw specific conclusions on other systems.

Dates and versions

insu-03705197 , version 1 (27-06-2022)

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Stefano Pantaleone, Joan Enrique-Romero, Cecilia Ceccarelli, Piero Ugliengo, Nadia Balucani, et al.. Chemical Desorption versus Energy Dissipation: Insights from Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics of HCO· Formation. The Astrophysical Journal, 2020, 897, ⟨10.3847/1538-4357/ab8a4b⟩. ⟨insu-03705197⟩
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