EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 453, Number 3, July III 2006
Page(s) 903 - 909
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20042382

A&A 453, 903-909 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20042382

Formation of compact solid water after ion irradiation at 15 K

M. E. Palumbo

INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via Santa Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
    e-mail: mepalumbo@oact.inaf.it

(Received 17 November 2004 / Accepted 23 December 2005)

We used infrared absorption spectroscopy to study the effects of ion irradiation on the morphology/porosity of amorphous water ice. Thin icy films (about 0.25 $\mu$m) of amorphous water were irradiated with 200 keV protons at 15 K. Both the behaviour of the OH dangling bond feature and the ability to trap carbon monoxide (CO) were used to investigate the evolution of icy samples after ion irradiation. We show that the intensity of the OH dangling bond feature decreases after ion irradiation and that the amount of absorbed carbon monoxide decreases as the fluence of impinging ions increases. The results obtained indicate that the porosity of amorphous water ice decreases after ion irradiation. Furthermore, icy mixtures such as H2O:CO2, H2O:CO, and H2O:CH4 were irradiated with 200 keV H+, 30 and 200 keV He+ ions. Also in these cases, the intensity of the OH dangling bond band decreases after ion irradiation. However, when a second molecular species is present in the ice sample, this decrease is slower. Here we present the experimental results and discuss their relevance to our understanding of the properties of interstellar water ice. In particular, we suggest that, because of cosmic ion bombardment, water ice in interstellar grain mantles is compact in structure.

Key words: astrochemistry -- molecular processes -- methods: laboratory -- ISM: lines and bands -- techniques: spectroscopic -- infrared: ISM

© ESO 2006