EDP Sciences
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Volume 420, Number 2, June III 2004
Page(s) 405 - 410
Section Astrophysical processes
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041091

A&A 420, 405-410 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041091

Hydrogen peroxide production by ion irradiation of thin water ice films

O. Gomis1, G. Leto2 and G. Strazzulla2

1  Dpt. Física Aplicada, Escuela Politécnica Superior de Alcoy (UPV), Placeta Ferrándiz Carbonell 2, 03801 Alcoy (Alicante), Spain
2  INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via Santa Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy

(Received 23 January 2004 / Accepted 23 February 2004 )

In this paper we present the results of new experiments on ion irradiation of water ice performed on thin films to study the synthesis of the hydrogen peroxide molecule and discuss the possibility of detecting it in icy mantles on interstellar grains. The used experimental technique has been in situ infrared spectroscopy. We have irradiated thin films (i.e. the ice thickness was smaller than the penetration depth of the used ion) with three different ions, namely 200 keV of H + and He + and 400 keV of Ar ++. The experiments were carried out at temperatures of 16 and 77 K. We have found that hydrogen peroxide is produced by all of the different ions at both temperatures. The detection of such a molecule has been possible from the study of its infrared feature centered at about 2850 cm -1 (3.5 $\mu$m). The obtained results also show that the produced H 2O 2/H 2O(%) ratio is greater for the heaviest ion (~6% for the case of Ar ++) and that H + is the ion that produces the smallest quantity (~1%). These upper limits in the production of hydrogen peroxide constrain the quantity of H 2O 2 that can be formed after bombardment by cosmic particles on icy mantles of grains in the interstellar medium.

Key words: astrochemistry -- methods: laboratory -- techniques: spectroscopic -- ISM: molecules -- ISM: dust, extinction -- molecular processes

Offprint request: O. Gomis, osgohi@fis.upv.es

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