Volume 531, July 2011
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Atomic, molecular, and nuclear data|
|Published online||21 June 2011|
Hydroxyl radical production and storage in analogues of amorphous interstellar silicates: a possible “wet” accretion phase for inner telluric planets
Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (IAS), Bâtiment 121, Université Paris-Sud
11 and CNRS,
2 Muséum National de l’Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7202, 75005 Paris, France
3 Unité Matériaux et Transformations, UMR 8207, Université Lille 1 and CNRS, 59655 Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
Received: 15 February 2011
Accepted: 29 April 2011
Context. Interstellar silicate grains are thought to be amorphized by interaction with high- and low-energy particle interactions in astrophysical environments. In addition, low energy (a few keV) particles will implant atoms within the grains.
Aims. In this paper we experimentally investigate the consequence of the implantation of H+ at low irradiation energies into analogues of interstellar silicate grains, and look for the formation of hydroxyl radicals within the silicate matrix.
Methods. Thin amorphous silicate films (~100 nm) were sequentially irradiated with H+ ions at low energies (3.5, 2.5 and then 1.5 keV) ensuring an implantation of the ions through the full depth of the films. The fluences used, 3 × 1016, 1017 and 3 × 1017 H+/cm2, are compatible with those expected in shocks in the interstellar medium. We used infrared spectroscopy to monitor and quantify the OH band evolution after irradiation. In order to distinguish the newly formed OH groups from those originating from unavoidable atmospheric contamination, the D/H depth ratios were measured with a NanoSIMS ion microprobe.
Results. An increase in the OH band strength in the infrared spectra after irradiation reveals the formation of OH bonds within the irradiated silicate thin films. NanoSIMS measurements of the D/H signature in the region of ion implantation show that the newly-formed OH groups make up about 40% of the observed OH band in the IR, the rest are due to an atmospheric hydroxylation of the sample. Only about 2% of the incident ions lead to OH bond formation and, at most, the irradiated silicates retain about 3% of the incident protons as OH groups within their structure.
Conclusions. Our laboratory experimental simulations show a possible production and storage of hydroxyl radicals in amorphous laboratory silicates. In the astrophysical context, such OH radicals, strongly bonded to pre-accretion material, could constitute a non negligible reservoir of -OH, thus water. These experimental results allow us to revisit and reinstate the hypothesis of a possible “wet” accretion of the telluric planets early in the history of the formation of the Solar System.
Key words: astrochemistry / methods: laboratory
© ESO, 2011
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