Tunnelling dominates the reactions of hydrogen atoms with unsaturated alcohols and aldehydes in the dense medium
Institute for Theoretical Chemistry, University Stuttgart,
2 Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden University, PO Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Accepted: 6 June 2018
Hydrogen addition and abstraction reactions play an important role as surface reactions in the buildup of complex organic molecules in the dense interstellar medium. Addition reactions allow unsaturated bonds to be fully hydrogenated, while abstraction reactions recreate radicals that may undergo radical–radical recombination reactions. Previous experimental work has indicated that double and triple C–C bonds are easily hydrogenated, but aldehyde –C=O bonds are not. Here, we investigate a total of 29 reactions of the hydrogen atom with propynal, propargyl alcohol, propenal, allyl alcohol, and propanal by means of quantum chemical methods to quantify the reaction rate constants involved. First of all, our results are in good agreement with and can explain the observed experimental findings. The hydrogen addition to the aldehyde group, either on the C or O side, is indeed slow for all molecules considered. Abstraction of the H atom from the aldehyde group, on the other hand, is among the faster reactions. Furthermore, hydrogen addition to C–C double bonds is generally faster than to triple bonds. In both cases, addition on the terminal carbon atom that is not connected to other functional groups is easiest. Finally, we wish to stress that it is not possible to predict rate constants based solely on the type of reaction: the specific functional groups attached to a backbone play a crucial role and can lead to a spread of several orders of magnitude in the rate constant.
Key words: astrochemistry / ISM: clouds / ISM: molecules / molecular processes
© ESO 2018