The ALMA view of UV irradiated cloud edges: unexpected structures and processes

Abstract : Far-UV photons (E<13.6 eV) from hot massive stars regulate, or at least influence, the heating, ionization, and chemistry of most of the neutral interstellar medium. Investigating the interaction between FUV radiation and interstellar matter thus plays an important role in astrochemistry. We have used ALMA to mosaic a small field of the Orion Bar where the critical transition from atomic to molecular gas takes place. These observations provide an unprecedented sharp view of this transition layer (~1" resolution or ~414 AU). The resulting images (so far in the rotational emission of CO, HCO+, H13CO+, SO+, SO, and reactive ions SH+ and HOC+) show the small-scale structure in gas density and temperature, and the steep abundance gradients. The images reveal a pattern of high-density substructures, photo-ablative gas flows and instabilities at the edge of the molecular cloud. We have also used the IRAM 30m telescope to carry out a line-survey of the illuminated edge of the Bar in the mm domain. Our observations reveal the presence of complex organic molecules that were not expected in such a harsh environment. In particular, we have reported the first detection of the unstable cis conformer of formic acid (HCOOH) in the ISM. The energy barrier to internal rotation (the conversion from trans to cis) is approximately 4827 cm-1. Hence, this detection is surprising. The low inferred trans-to-cis abundance ratio of 2.8+/-1.0 supports a photoswitching mechanism: a given conformer absorbs a FUV stellar photon that radiatively excites the molecule to electronic states above the interconversion barrier. Subsequent fluorescent decay leaves the molecule in a different conformer form. This mechanism, which we have specifically studied with ab initio quantum calculations, was not considered so far in astrochemistry although it can affect the structure of a variety of molecules in PDRs. (abridged)
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
: "Astrochemistry VII, Through the Cosmos from Galaxies to Planets". Proceedings of the IAU Symposium No. 332, 2017, Puerto Varas, Chile. M. Cunningham, T. Millar and Y. Aikawa, eds. p210-217, Mar 2017, Puerto Varas, Chile. pp.210-217, 2018, 〈10.1017/S1743921317007761〉
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Contributeur : Marie-Paule Pomies <>
Soumis le : mercredi 6 septembre 2017 - 11:36:32
Dernière modification le : jeudi 22 novembre 2018 - 15:04:55

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Javier R. Goicoechea, S. Cuadrado, J. Pety, A. Aguado, J. H. Black, et al.. The ALMA view of UV irradiated cloud edges: unexpected structures and processes. : "Astrochemistry VII, Through the Cosmos from Galaxies to Planets". Proceedings of the IAU Symposium No. 332, 2017, Puerto Varas, Chile. M. Cunningham, T. Millar and Y. Aikawa, eds. p210-217, Mar 2017, Puerto Varas, Chile. pp.210-217, 2018, 〈10.1017/S1743921317007761〉. 〈hal-01582589〉

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