Volume 651, July 2021
|Number of page(s)||24|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||23 July 2021|
Infrared spectra of complex organic molecules in astronomically relevant ice matrices
III. Methyl formate and its tentative solid-state detection
Laboratory for Astrophysics, Leiden Observatory, Leiden University,
PO Box 9513,
RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
3 Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, PO Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
4 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Accepted: 3 May 2021
Context. Infrared spectroscopy of star and planet forming regions is at the dawn of a new age with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Its high resolution and unprecedented sensitivity allows us to probe the chemical complexity of planet forming regions, such as dense clouds, embedded protostars, and protoplanetary disks, both in the solid state and gas phase. In support of these observations, laboratory spectra are required to identify complex organic molecules in the ices that cover the dust grains in these regions.
Aims. This study aims to provide the necessary reference spectra to firmly detect methyl formate (HCOOCH3) in the different evolutionary stages of star and planet forming regions. Methyl formate is mixed in astronomically relevant matrices, and the peak positions, full width at half maximum, and relative band intensities are characterized for different temperatures to provide an analytical tool for astronomers.
Methods. Methyl formate was deposited at 15 Kelvin on a cryogenically cooled infrared transmissive window under high-vacuum conditions. Specifically, methyl formate was deposited pure and mixed with CO, H2CO, CH3OH, H2O, and CO:H2CO:CH3OH combined. The sample was linearly heated until all solid-state constituents were desorbed. Throughout the experiment, infrared spectra were acquired with a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer in the range from 4000 to 500 cm−1 (2.5–20 μm) at a spectral resolution of 0.5 cm−1.
Results. We present the characterization of five solid-state methyl formate vibrational modes in pure and astronomically relevant ice matrices. The five selected vibrational modes, namely the C=O stretch (5.804 μm), the C−O stretch (8.256 μm), CH3 rocking (8.582 μm), O−CH3 stretching (10.98 μm), and OCO deformation (13.02 μm), are best suited for a JWST identification of methyl formate. For each of these vibrational modes, and each of the mixtures the temperature versus spectra heatmaps, peak position versus full width at half maximum and relative band intensities are given. All spectra are publicly available on the Leiden Ice Database. Additionally, the acquired reference spectra of methyl formate are compared with archival Spitzer observations of HH 46. A tentative detection of methyl formate provides an upper limit to the column density of 1.7 × 1017 cm−2, corresponding to an upper limit relative to water of ≤2.2% and ≤40% with respect to methanol.
Key words: astrochemistry / molecular data / methods: laboratory: molecular / methods: laboratory: solid state / techniques: spectroscopic
© ESO 2021
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