THE CHEMISTRY OF COMPLEX-MOLECULES IN INTERSTELLAR CLOUDS

TJ Millar, E. Roueff, S.B. Charnley, S.D. Rodgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the chemical evolution of large molecules in interstellar clouds. We consider the chemistry and ionisation balance of large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) type molecules in diffuse clouds and show that certain PAH molecules can be doubly ionised by the interstellar ultraviolet radiation field. If recombination of the dications so produced with electrons is dissociative rather than radiative, then PAHs are rapidly destroyed. PAHs which can only be singly ionised have much smaller recombination energies and can be long lasting in these regions. This type of property may be very important in selecting the PAH species which can populate the general interstellar medium and account for certain of the diffuse bands observed in optical spectra. Destruction of PAH molecules via formation of dications may be responsible for the weakening of the diffuse bands observed in regions of high UV flux.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-402
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Volume149
Publication statusPublished - 1995

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