Hot molecular cores in star-forming regions are known to have gas-phase chemical compositions determined by the evaporation of material from the icy mantles of interstellar grains, followed by subsequent reactions in the gas phase. Current models suggest that the evaporated material is rich in hydrogenated species, such as water, methane and methanol. In this paper, we report the detection of 14 rotational transitions of ethanol in the submillimetre spectrum of the molecular cloud associated with the ultra-compact H II region G34.3+0.15. We derive a rotation temperature of 125 K and a beam-averaged column density of 2.0x10(15) cm(-2), corresponding to a fractional abundance on the order of 4x10(-9). This large abundance, which is a lower limit due to the likelihood of beam dilution, cannot be made by purely gas-phase processes, and we conclude that the ethanol must be formed efficiently in the grain surface chemistry. Since it has been argued previously that methanol is formed via surface chemistry, it appears that alcohol formation may be a natural by-product of surface reactions.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|