A survey of [ D2CO] /[ H2CO] and [ N2D^+] /[ N2H^+] ratios towards protostellar cores

Helen Roberts, TJ Millar

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Aims.We use observations and models of molecular D/H ratios to probe the physical conditions and chemical history of the gas and to differentiate between gas-phase and grain-surface chemical processing in star forming regions. Methods: As a follow up to previous observations of HDCO/H2CO and DCN/HCN ratios in a selection of low-mass protostellar cores, we have measured D2CO/H2CO and N2D^+/N2H+ ratios in these same sources. For comparison, we have also measured N2D^+/N2H+ ratios towards several starless cores and have searched for N2D+ and deuterated formaldehyde towards hot molecular cores (HMCs) associated with high mass star formation. We compare our results with predictions from detailed chemical models, and to other observations made in these sources. Results: Towards the starless cores and low-mass protostellar sources we have found very high N2D+ fractionation, which suggests that the bulk of the gas in these regions is cold and heavily depleted. The non-detections of N2D+ in the HMCs indicate higher temperatures. We did detect HDCO towards two of the HMCs, with abundances 1-3% of H2CO. These are the first detections of deuterated formaldehyde in high mass sources since Turner (1990) measured HDCO/H2CO and D2CO/H2CO towards the Orion Compact Ridge. Figures 1-5 are only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-863
Number of pages15
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

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