Search for interstellar methoxyacetonitrile and cyanoethanol: insights into coupling of cyano- to methanol and ammonia chemistry.
BRAAKMAN R., BELLOCHE A., BLAKE G.A. and MENTEN K.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
As part of an effort to study gas-grain chemical models in star-forming regions as they relate to molecules containing cyanide (-C≡N) groups, we present here a search for the molecules 2-cyanoethanol (OHCH2CH2CN) and methoxyacetonitrile (CH3OCH2CN) in the galactic center region SgrB2. These species are structural isomers of each other and are targeted to investigate the cross-coupling of pathways emanating from the photolysis products of methanol and ammonia with pathways involving cyano-containing molecules. Methanol and ammonia ices are two of the main repositories of the elements C, O, and N in cold clouds and understanding their link to cyanide chemistry could give important insights into prebiotic molecular evolution. Neither species was positively detected, but the upper limits we determined allow comparison to the general patterns gleaned from chemical models. Our results indicate the need for an expansion of the model networks to better deal with cyano-chemistry, in particular with respect to pathways including products of methanol photolysis. In addition to these results, the two main observational routes for detecting new interstellar molecules are discussed. One route is by decreasing detection limits at millimeter wavelength through spatial filtering with interferometric studies at the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), and the second is by searching for intense torsional states at THz frequencies using the Herschel Space Observatory. 2-cyanoethanol and methoxyacetonitrile would both be good test beds for exploring the capabilities of ALMA and Herschel in the study of complex interstellar chemistry.