Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 640A, 94-94 (2020/8-1)
Effect of grain size distribution and size-dependent grain heating on molecular abundances in starless and pre-stellar cores.
SIPILA O., ZHAO B. and CASELLI P.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a new gas-grain chemical model to constrain the effect of grain size distribution on molecular abundances in physical conditions corresponding to starless and pre-stellar cores. We simultaneously introduce grain-size dependence for desorption efficiency induced by cosmic rays (CRs) and for grain equilibrium temperatures. The latter were calculated with a radiative transfer code via custom dust models built for the present work. We explicitly tracked of ice abundances on a set of grain populations. We find that the size-dependent CR desorption efficiency affects ice abundances in a highly nontrivial way that depends on the molecule. Species that originate in the gas phase, such as CO, follow a simple pattern in which the ice abundance is highest on the smallest grains and these are the most abundant in the distribution. Some molecules, such as HCN, are instead concentrated on large grains throughout the time evolution; others, such as N2, are initially concentrated on large grains, but at late times on small grains because of grain-size-dependent competition between desorption and hydrogenation. Most of the water ice is on small grains at high medium density (n(H2)≥106cm–3), where the water ice fraction, with respect to the total water ice reservoir, can be as low as ∼10–3 on large (>0.1µm) grains. Allowing the grain equilibrium temperature to vary with grain size induces strong variations in relative ice abundances in low-density conditions in which the interstellar radiation field and in particular its ultraviolet component are not attenuated. Our study implies consequences not only for the initial formation of ices preceding the starless core stage, but also for the relative ice abundances on the grain populations going into the protostellar stage. In particular, if the smallest grains can lose their mantles owing to grain-grain collisions as the core is collapsing, the ice composition in the beginning of the protostellar stage could be very different than in the pre-collapse phase because the ice composition depends strongly on the grain size.