EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 416, Number 2, March III 2004
Page(s) 603 - 622
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034440

A&A 416, 603-622 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034440

Molecular inventories and chemical evolution of low-mass protostellar envelopes

J. K. Jørgensen1, F. L. Schöier1, 2 and E. F. van Dishoeck1

1  Leiden Observatory, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2  Stockholm Observatory, AlbaNova, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

(Received 3 October 2003 / Accepted 2 December 2003)

This paper presents the first substantial study of the chemistry of the envelopes around a sample of 18 low-mass pre- and protostellar objects for which physical properties have previously been derived from radiative transfer modeling of their dust continuum emission. Single-dish line observations of 24 transitions of 9 molecular species (not counting isotopes) including HCO +, N 2H +, CS, SO, SO 2, HCN, HNC, HC 3N and CN are reported. The line intensities are used to constrain the molecular abundances by comparison to Monte Carlo radiative transfer modeling of the line strengths. In general the nitrogen-bearing species together with HCO + and CO cannot be fitted by a constant fractional abundance when the lowest excitation transitions are included, but require radial dependences of their chemistry since the intensity of the lowest excitation lines are systematically underestimated in such models. A scenario is suggested in which these species are depleted in a specific region of the envelope where the density is high enough that the freeze-out timescale is shorter than the dynamical timescale and the temperature low enough that the molecule is not evaporated from the icy grain mantles. This can be simulated by a "drop" abundance profile with standard (undepleted) abundances in the inner- and outermost regions and a drop in abundance in between where the molecule freezes out. An empirical chemical network is constructed on the basis of correlations between the abundances of various species. For example, it is seen that the HCO + and CO abundances are linearly correlated, both increasing with decreasing envelope mass. This is shown to be the case if the main formation route of HCO + is through reactions between CO and H 3+, and if the CO abundance still is low enough that reactions between H 3+ and N 2 are the main mechanism responsible for the removal of H 3+. Species such as CS, SO and HCN show no trend with envelope mass. In particular no trend is seen between "evolutionary stage" of the objects and the abundances of the main sulfur- or nitrogen-containing species. Among the nitrogen-bearing species abundances of CN, HNC and HC 3N are found to be closely correlated, which can be understood from considerations of the chemical network. The CS/SO abundance ratio is found to correlate with the abundances of CN and HC 3N, which may reflect a dependence on the atomic carbon abundance. An anti-correlation is found between the deuteration of HCO + and HCN, reflecting different temperature dependences for gas-phase deuteration mechanisms. The abundances are compared to other protostellar environments. In particular it is found that the abundances in the cold outer envelope of the previously studied class 0 protostar IRAS 16293-2422 are in good agreement with the average abundances for the presented sample of class 0 objects.

Key words: stars: formation -- ISM: molecules -- ISM: abundances -- radiative transfer -- astrochemistry

Offprint request: J. K. Jørgensen, joergensen@strw.leidenuniv.nl

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