EDP Sciences
APEX Special Booklet
Free access
Volume 454, Number 2, August I 2006
APEX Special Booklet
Page(s) L37 - L40
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200600015

A&A 454, L37-L40 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200600015


Discovery of interstellar CF+

D. A. Neufeld1, P. Schilke2, K. M. Menten2, M. G. Wolfire3, J. H. Black4, F. Schuller2, H. S. P. Müller2, 5, S. Thorwirth2, R. Güsten2 and S. Philipp2

1  Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
2  Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3  Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
4  Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, 43992 Onsala, Sweden
5  I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, 50937 Köln, Germany

(Received 21 November 2005 / Accepted 2 February 2006)

We discuss the first astronomical detection of the CF+ (fluoromethylidynium) ion, obtained by observations of the J=1-0 (102.6 GHz), J=2-1 (205.2 GHz) and J=3-2 (307.7 GHz) rotational transitions toward the Orion Bar region. Our search for CF+ - carried out using the IRAM 30 m and APEX 12 m telescopes - was motivated by recent theoretical models that predict CF+ abundances of $\rm few \times 10 ^{-10}$ in UV-irradiated molecular regions where C+ is present. The CF+ ion is produced by exothermic reactions of C+ with HF. Because fluorine atoms can react exothermically with H2, HF is predicted to be the dominant reservoir of fluorine, not only in well-shielded regions but also in the surface layers of molecular clouds where the C+ abundance is large. The observed CF+ line intensities imply the presence of CF+ column densities $\ge $ $10^{12} \rm\, {cm}^{-2}$ over a region of size $\ga$$ 1^\prime$, in good agreement with theoretical predictions. They provide support for our current theories of interstellar fluorine chemistry, which suggest that hydrogen fluoride should be ubiquitous in interstellar gas clouds and widely detectable in absorption by future satellite and airborne observatories.

Key words: ISM: molecules -- ISM: abundances -- ISM: clouds -- molecular processes -- submillimeter

© ESO 2006