Volume 625, May 2019
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||07 May 2019|
Polyacenes and diffuse interstellar bands
Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, Sorbonne Université, UPMC Université Paris 6 and CNRS, UMR
2 Institut für Organische Chemie, Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 18, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Accepted: 7 March 2019
The identification of the carriers of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) remains to be established, with the exception of five bands attributed to C60+, although it is generally agreed that DIB carriers should be large carbon-based molecules (with ~10–100 atoms) in the gas phase, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), long carbon chains or fullerenes. The aim of this paper is to investigate more specific possible carriers among PAHs, namely elongated molecules, which could explain a correlation between the DIB wavelength and the apparent UV resilience of their carriers. More specifically, we address the case of polyacenes, C4N+2H2N+4, with N ~ 10–18 fused rectilinear aligned hexagons. Polyacenes are attractive DIB carrier candidates because their high symmetry and large linear size allow them to form regular series of bands in the visible range with strengths larger than most other PAHs, as confirmed by recent laboratory results up to undecacene (C46H26). Those with very strong bands in the DIB spectral domain are just at the limit of stability against UV photodissociation. They are part of the prominent PAH family of interstellar carbon compounds, meaning that only ~10−5 of the total PAH abundance is enough to account for a medium-strength DIB. After summarizing the limited current knowledge about the complex properties of polyacenes and recent laboratory results, the likelihood that they might meet the criteria for being carriers of some DIBs is addressed by reviewing the following properties: wavelength and strength of their series of visible bands; interstellar stability and abundances, charge state and hydrogenation; and DIB rotation profiles. No definite inconsistency has been identified that precludes polyacenes from being the carriers of some DIBs with medium or weak strength, including the so-called C2 DIBs. But, despite their many interesting properties, additional experimental data about long acenes and their visible bands are needed to make robust conclusions.
Key words: astrochemistry / ISM: molecules / ISM: lines and bands / dust, extinction / line: identification / line: profiles
© A. Omont et al. 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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