Astrophys. J., 849, L25-L25 (2017/November-2)
H2 ortho-to-para conversion on grains: a route to fast deuterium fractionation in dense cloud cores?
BOVINO S., GRASSI T., SCHLEICHER D.R.G. and CASELLI P.
Abstract (from CDS):
Deuterium fractionation, i.e., the enhancement of deuterated species with respect to non-deuterated ones, is considered to be a reliable chemical clock of star-forming regions. This process is strongly affected by the ortho-to-para H2 ratio. In this Letter we explore the effect of the ortho-para (o-p) H2 conversion on grains on the deuteration timescale in fully-depleted dense cores, including the most relevant uncertainties that affect this complex process. We show that (i) the o-p H2 conversion on grains is not strongly influenced by the uncertainties on the conversion time and the sticking coefficient, and (ii) that the process is controlled by the temperature and the residence time of ortho-H2 on the surface, i.e., by the binding energy. We find that for binding energies between 330 and 550 K, depending on the temperature, the o-p H2 conversion on grains can shorten the deuterium fractionation timescale by orders of magnitude, opening a new route for explaining the large observed deuteration fraction Dfrac in dense molecular cloud cores. Our results suggest that the star formation timescale, when estimated through the timescale to reach the observed deuteration fractions, might be shorter than previously proposed. However, more accurate measurements of the binding energy are needed in order to better assess the overall role of this process.
© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
astrochemistry - ISM: molecules - methods: numerical - stars: formation - stars: massive - stars: massive
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