High-resolution IR absorption spectroscopy of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the 3 μm region: role of hydrogenation and alkylation
University of Amsterdam,
Science Park 904,
Amsterdam, The Netherland
2 Leiden Observatory, Niels Bohrweg 2, 2333 CA Leiden, The Netherlands
3 SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Suite 100, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
4 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, USA
5 Radboud University, Toernooiveld 7c, 6525 ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Accepted: 14 December 2017
Aim. We aim to elucidate the spectral changes in the 3 μm region that result from chemical changes in the molecular periphery of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with extra hydrogens (H-PAHs) and methyl groups (Me-PAHs).
Methods. Advanced laser spectroscopic techniques combined with mass spectrometry were applied on supersonically cooled 1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, 9,10-dihydroanthracene, 9,10-dihydrophenanthrene, 1,2,3,6,7,8-hexahydropyrene, 9-methylanthracene, and 9,10-dimethylanthracene, allowing us to record mass-selective and conformationally selective absorption spectra of the aromatic, aliphatic, and alkyl CH-stretches in the 3.175 − 3.636 µm region with laser-limited resolution. We compared the experimental absorption spectra with standard harmonic calculations and with second-order vibrational perturbation theory anharmonic calculations that use the SPECTRO program for treating resonances.
Results. We show that anharmonicity plays an important if not dominant role, affecting not only aromatic, but also aliphatic and alkyl CH-stretch vibrations. The experimental high-resolution data lead to the conclusion that the variation in Me- and H-PAHs composition might well account for the observed variations in the 3 μm emission spectra of carbon-rich and star-forming regions. Our laboratory studies also suggest that heavily hydrogenated PAHs form a significant fraction of the carriers of IR emission in regions in which an anomalously strong 3 μm plateau is observed.
Key words: astrochemistry / molecular data / ISM: molecules / infrared: ISM
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