A general model for the identification of specific PAHs in the far-IR
INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Astrochemistry Group, Strada n.54, Loc. Poggio dei Pini, 09012 Capoterra (CA), Italy e-mail: [gmulas;gmalloci]@ca.astro.it
2 Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, CNRS et Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 9 Avenue du Colonel Roche, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 04, France e-mail: [giuliano.malloci;christine.joblin;dominique.toublanc]@cesr.fr
Accepted: 9 June 2006
Context.In the framework of the interstellar PAH hypothesis, far-IR skeletal bands are expected to be a fingerprint of single species in this class.
Aims.A detailed model of the photo-physics of interstellar PAHs is required for such single-molecule identification of their far-IR features in the presently available Infrared Space Observatory data and in those of the forthcoming Herschel Space Observatory mission.
Methods.We modelled the detailed photophysics of a vast sample of species in different radiation fields, using a compendium of Monte-Carlo techniques and quantum-chemical calculations. This enabled us to validate the use of purely theoretical data and assess the expected accuracy and reliability of the resulting synthetic far-IR emission spectra.
Results.We produce positions and intensities of the expected far-IR features that ought to be emitted by each species in the sample in the considered radiation fields. A composite emission spectrum for our sample is computed for one of the most favourable sources for detection, namely the Red Rectangle nebula. The resulting spectrum is compared with the estimated dust emission in the same source to assess the dependence of detectability on key molecular parameters.
Conclusions.Identifying specific PAHs from their far-IR features is going to be a difficult feat in general; still, it may well be possible under favourable conditions.
Key words: astrochemistry / line: identification / molecular processes / ISM: lines and bands / ISM: molecules / infrared: ISM
© ESO, 2006