Letter to the Editor
High NH2D/NH3 ratios in protostellar cores
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 1 March 2003
Observations of low mass protostars which probe small enough size scales to be within likely CO depletion regions show the highest [ NH2D] /[ NH3] ratios yet measured, of 4–33%. These molecular D/H ratios are higher than those measured on larger scales, showing that deuterium fractionation increases towards protostellar cores. As in cold clouds, such high ratios can be produced by gas-phase ion-molecule chemistry in the presence of depletion. Grain surface chemistry is less likely to explain the deuterium enhancement, as it would require higher fractionation in ices than current models predict. The link between accretion, depletion and high molecular deuterium fractionation is strongly supported.
© ESO, 2003