Volume 647, March 2021
|Number of page(s)||25|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||02 March 2021|
Bottlenecks to interstellar sulfur chemistry
Sulfur-bearing hydrides in UV-illuminated gas and grains
Instituto de Física Fundamental (CSIC). Calle Serrano 121-123,
2 Facultad de Ciencias. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
3 Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM), Grenoble, France
4 LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, 92190 Meudon, France
5 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional (OAN), Alfonso XII, 3, 28014 Madrid, Spain
6 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
7 OASU/LAB-UMR5804, CNRS, Université Bordeaux, 33615 Pessac, France
8 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
Accepted: 23 December 2020
Hydride molecules lie at the base of interstellar chemistry, but the synthesis of sulfuretted hydrides is poorly understood and their abundances often crudely constrained. Motivated by new observations of the Orion Bar photodissociation region (PDR) – 1″ resolution ALMA images of SH+; IRAM 30 m detections of bright H232S, H234S, and H233S lines; H3S+ (upper limits); and SOFIA/GREAT observations of SH (upper limits) – we perform a systematic study of the chemistry of sulfur-bearing hydrides. We self-consistently determine their column densities using coupled excitation, radiative transfer as well as chemical formation and destruction models. We revise some of the key gas-phase reactions that lead to their chemical synthesis. This includes ab initio quantum calculations of the vibrational-state-dependent reactions SH+ + H2(v) ⇄ H2S+ + H and S + H2 (v) ⇄ SH + H. We find that reactions of UV-pumped H2(v ≥ 2) molecules with S+ ions explain the presence of SH+ in a high thermal-pressure gas component, Pth∕k ≈ 108 cm−3 K, close to the H2 dissociation front (at AV < 2 mag). These PDR layers are characterized by no or very little depletion of elemental sulfur from the gas. However, subsequent hydrogen abstraction reactions of SH+, H2S+, and S atoms with vibrationally excited H2, fail to form enough H2S+, H3S+, and SH to ultimately explain the observed H2S column density (~2.5 × 1014 cm−2, with an ortho-to-para ratio of 2.9 ± 0.3; consistent with the high-temperature statistical value). To overcome these bottlenecks, we build PDR models that include a simple network of grain surface reactions leading to the formation of solid H2S (s-H2S). The higher adsorption binding energies of S and SH suggested by recent studies imply that S atoms adsorb on grains (and form s-H2S) at warmer dust temperatures (Td < 50 K) and closer to the UV-illuminated edges of molecular clouds. We show that everywhere s-H2S mantles form(ed), gas-phase H2S emission lines will be detectable. Photodesorption and, to a lesser extent, chemical desorption, produce roughly the same H2S column density (a few 1014 cm−2) and abundance peak (a few 10−8) nearly independently of nH and G0. This agrees with the observed H2S column density in the Orion Bar as well as at the edges of dark clouds without invoking substantial depletion of elemental sulfur abundances.
Key words: astrochemistry / line: identification / ISM: clouds / photon-dominated region
© ESO 2021
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