EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 493, Number 3, January III 2009
Page(s) 1017 - 1028
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200809769
Published online 20 November 2008

A&A 493, 1017-1028 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200809769

Formation of interstellar solid CO2 after energetic processing of icy grain mantles

S. Ioppolo1, M. E. Palumbo1, G. A. Baratta1, and V. Mennella2

1  INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via Santa Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
    e-mail: mepalumbo@oact.inaf.it
2  INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, via Moiarello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy

Received 12 March 2008 / Accepted 26 September 2008

Context. Space infrared observations with ISO-SWS and Spitzer telescopes have clearly shown that solid carbon dioxide (CO2) is ubiquitous and abundant along the line of sight to quiescent clouds and star forming regions. Due to the CO2 low gas-phase abundance, it is suggested that CO2 is synthesized on grains after energetic processing of icy mantles and/or surface reactions.
Aims. We study quantitatively the abundance of carbon dioxide synthesized from ice mixtures of astrophysical relevance induced by ion irradiation at low temperature. We compare the CO2 stretching and bending-mode band profiles observed towards some young stellar objects (YSOs) for which infrared spectra exist.
Methods. Using a high vacuum experimental setup, the effects induced by fast ions (30-200 keV) on several ice mixtures of astrophysical interest are investigated. Chemical and structural modifications of the ice samples that form new molecular species are analyzed using infrared spectroscopy. The formation cross section of solid CO2 is estimated from the increase in column density as a function of the dose fitting of experimental data with an exponential curve.
Results. Our laboratory experiments showed that carbon dioxide is formed after irradiation of ice mixtures containing C- and O-bearing molecules. Furthermore, when the same amount of energy is released into the icy sample, a larger amount of CO2 is formed in H2O-rich mixtures in agreement with previous studies. We also found that the CO2 stretching and bending mode band profiles depend on the mixture and temperature of the ice sample. We found that the amount of carbon dioxide formed after ion irradiation can account for the observed carbon dioxide towards YSOs. Furthermore, we discovered that laboratory spectra are a good spectroscopic analogue of the interstellar features.
Conclusions. Even if the comparison between laboratory and observed spectra presented here cannot be considered unique and complete, our results quantitatively support the hypothesis that interstellar solid CO2 forms after ion irradiation and UV photolysis of icy mantles.

Key words: astrochemistry -- molecular processes -- methods: laboratory -- techniques: spectroscopic -- ISM: abundances -- infrared: ISM

© ESO 2009