skip to main content

Title: On the formation and the isomer specific detection of methylacetylene (CH 3 CCH), propene (CH 3 CHCH 2 ), cyclopropane (c-C 3 H 6 ), vinylacetylene (CH 2 CHCCH), and 1,3-butadiene (CH 2 CHCHCH 2 ) from interstellar methane ice analogues
Pure methane (CH 4 ) ices processed by energetic electrons under ultra-high vacuum conditions to simulate secondary electrons formed via galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) penetrating interstellar ice mantles have been shown to produce an array of complex hydrocarbons with the general formulae: C n H 2n+2 ( n = 4–8), C n H 2n ( n = 3–9), C n H 2n−2 ( n = 3–9), C n H 2n−4 ( n = 4–9), and C n H 2n−6 ( n = 6–7). By monitoring the in situ chemical evolution of the ice combined with temperature programmed desorption (TPD) studies and tunable single photon ionization coupled to a reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer, specific isomers of C 3 H 4 , C 3 H 6 , C 4 H 4 , and C 4 H 6 were probed. These experiments confirmed the synthesis of methylacetylene (CH 3 CCH), propene (CH 3 CHCH 2 ), cyclopropane (c-C 3 H 6 ), vinylacetylene (CH 2 CHCCH), 1-butyne (HCCC 2 H 5 ), 2-butyne (CH 3 CCCH 3 ), 1,2-butadiene (H 2 CCCH(CH 3 )), and 1,3-butadiene (CH 2 CHCHCH 2 ) with yields of 2.17 ± 0.95 × 10 −4 , 3.7 ± more » 1.5 × 10 −3 , 1.23 ± 0.77 × 10 −4 , 1.28 ± 0.65 × 10 −4 , 4.01 ± 1.98 × 10 −5 , 1.97 ± 0.98 × 10 −4 , 1.90 ± 0.84 × 10 −5 , and 1.41 ± 0.72 × 10 −4 molecules eV −1 , respectively. Mechanistic studies exploring the formation routes of methylacetylene, propene, and vinylacetylene were also conducted, and revealed the additional formation of the 1,2,3-butatriene isomer. Several of the above isomers, methylacetylene, propene, vinylacetylene, and 1,3-butadiene, have repeatedly been shown to be important precursors in the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but until now their interstellar synthesis has remained elusive. « less
; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
5378 to 5393
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The formation of complex organic molecules by simulated secondary electrons generated in the track of galactic cosmic rays was investigated in interstellar ice analogs composed of methanol and carbon dioxide. The processed ices were subjected to temperature-programmed desorption to mimic the transition of a cold molecular cloud to a warmer star-forming region. Reaction products were detected as they sublime using photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry. By employing isotopic labeling, tunable photoionization and computed adiabatic ionization energies isomers of C2H4O3were investigated. Product molecules carbonic acid monomethyl ester (CH3OCOOH) and glycolic acid (HOCH2COOH) were identified. The abundance of the reactants detected in analog interstellar ices and the low irradiation dose necessary to form these products indicates that these molecules are exemplary candidates for interstellar detection. Molecules sharing a tautomeric relationship with glycolic acid, dihydroxyacetaldehyde ((OH)2CCHO), and the enol ethenetriol (HOCHC(OH)2), were not found to form despite ices being subjected to conditions that have successfully produced tautomerization in other ice analog systems.

  2. Recently, over 200 molecules have been detected in the interstellar medium (ISM), with about one third being complex organic molecules (COMs), molecules containing six or more atoms. Over the last few decades, astrophysical laboratory experiments have shown that several COMs are formed via interaction of ionizing radiation within ices deposited on interstellar dust particles at 10 K (H 2 O, CH 3 OH, CO, CO 2 , CH 4 , NH 3 ). However, there is still a lack of understanding of the chemical complexity that is available through individual ice constituents. The present research investigates experimentally the synthesis of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen bearing COMs from interstellar ice analogues containing carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH 4 ), ethane (C 2 H 6 ), ethylene (C 2 H 4 ), or acetylene (C 2 H 2 ) exposed to ionizing radiation. Utilizing online and in situ techniques, such as infrared spectroscopy and tunable photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReTOF-MS), specific isomers produced could be characterized. A total of 12 chemically different groups were detected corresponding to C 2 H n O ( n = 2, 4, 6), C 3 H n O ( n = 2, 4, 6, 8),more »C 4 H n O ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10), C 5 H n O ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10), C 6 H n O ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14), C 2 H n O 2 ( n = 2, 4), C 3 H n O 2 ( n = 4, 6, 8), C 4 H n O 2 ( n = 4, 6, 8, 10), C 5 H n O 2 ( n = 6, 8), C 6 H n O 2 ( n = 8, 10, 12), C 4 H n O 3 ( n = 4, 6, 8), and C 5 H n O 3 ( n = 6, 8). More than half of these isomer specifically identified molecules have been identified in the ISM, and the remaining COMs detected here can be utilized to guide future astronomical observations. Of these isomers, three groups – alcohols, aldehydes, and molecules containing two of these functional groups – displayed varying degrees of unsaturation. Also, the detection of 1-propanol, 2-propanol, 1-butanal, and 2-methyl-propanal has significant implications as the propyl and isopropyl moieties (C 3 H 7 ), which have already been detected in the ISM via propyl cyanide and isopropyl cyanide, could be detected in our laboratory studies. General reaction mechanisms for their formation are also proposed, with distinct follow-up studies being imperative to elucidate the complexity of COMs synthesized in these ices.« less
  3. Abstract

    Carbonyl-bearing complex organic molecules (COMs) in the interstellar medium (ISM) are of significant importance due to their role as potential precursors to biomolecules. Simple aldehydes and ketones like acetaldehyde, acetone, and propanal have been recognized as fundamental molecular building blocks and tracers of chemical processes involved in the formation of distinct COMs in molecular clouds and star-forming regions. Although previous laboratory simulation experiments and modeling established the potential formation pathways of interstellar acetaldehyde and propanal, the underlying formation routes to the simplest ketone—acetone—in the ISM are still elusive. Herein, we performed a systematic study to unravel the synthesis of acetone, its propanal and propylene oxide isomers, as well as the propenol tautomers in interstellar analog ices composed of methane and acetaldehyde along with isotopic-substitution studies to trace the reaction pathways of the reactive intermediates. Chemical processes in the ices were triggered at 5.0 K upon exposure to proxies of Galactic cosmic rays in the form of energetic electrons. The products were detected isomer-selectively via vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In our experiments, the branching ratio of acetone (CH3COCH3):propylene oxide (c-CH3CHOCH2):propanal (CH3CH2CHO) was determined to be (4.82 ± 0.05):(2.86 ± 0.13):1. The radical–radical recombination reaction leading tomore »acetone emerged as the dominant channel. The propenols appeared only at a higher radiation dose via keto–enol tautomerization. The current study provides mechanistic information on the fundamental nonequilibrium pathways that may be responsible for the formation of acetone and its (enol) isomers inside the interstellar icy grains.

    « less
  4. Abstract We report a systematic study of all known methyl carbon chains toward TMC-1 using the second data release of the GOTHAM survey, as well as a search for larger species. Using Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations and spectral line stacking of over 30 rotational transitions, we report statistically significant emission from methylcyanotriacetylene (CH 3 C 7 N) at a confidence level of 4.6 σ , and use it to derive a column density of ∼10 11 cm −2 . We also searched for the related species, methyltetraacetylene (CH 3 C 8 H), and place upper limits on the column density of this molecule. By carrying out the above statistical analyses for all other previously detected methyl-terminated carbon chains that have emission lines in our survey, we assess the abundances, excitation conditions, and formation chemistry of methylpolyynes (CH 3 C 2 n H) and methylcyanopolyynes (CH 3 C 2 n -1 N) in TMC-1, and compare those with predictions from a chemical model. Based on our observed trends in column density and relative populations of the A and E nuclear spin isomers, we find that the methylpolyyne and methylcyanopolyyne families exhibit stark differences from one another, pointing to separate interstellarmore »formation pathways, which is confirmed through gas–grain chemical modeling with nautilus .« less
  5. Interest in O 2 -dependent aliphatic carbon–carbon (C–C) bond cleavage reactions of first row divalent metal diketonate complexes stems from the desire to further understand the reaction pathways of enzymes such as DKE1 and to extract information to develop applications in organic synthesis. A recent report of O 2 -dependent aliphatic C–C bond cleavage at ambient temperature in Ni( ii ) diketonate complexes supported by a tridentate nitrogen donor ligand [(MBBP)Ni(PhC(O)CHC(O)Ph)]Cl ( 7-Cl ; MBBP = 2,6-bis(1-methylbenzimidazol-2-yl)pyridine) in the presence of NEt 3 spurred our interest in further examining the chemistry of such complexes. A series of new TERPY-ligated Ni( ii ) diketonate complexes of the general formula [(TERPY)Ni(R 2 -1,3-diketonate)]ClO 4 ( 1 : R = CH 3 ; 2 : R = C(CH 3 ) 3 ; 3 : R = Ph) was prepared under air and characterized using single crystal X-ray crystallography, elemental analysis, 1 H NMR, ESI-MS, FTIR, and UV-vis. Analysis of the reaction mixtures in which these complexes were generated using 1 H NMR and ESI-MS revealed the presence of both the desired diketonate complex and the bis-TERPY derivative [(TERPY) 2 Ni](ClO 4 ) 2 ( 4 ). Through selective crystallization 1–3 were isolated inmore »analytically pure form. Analysis of reaction mixtures leading to the formation of the MBBP analogs [(MBBP)Ni(R 2 -1,3-diketonate)]X (X = ClO 4 : 5 : R = CH 3 ; 6 : R = C(CH 3 ) 3 ; 7-ClO4 : R = Ph; X = Cl: 7-Cl : R = Ph) using 1 H NMR and ESI-MS revealed the presence of [(MBBP) 2 Ni](ClO 4 ) 2 ( 8 ). Analysis of aerobic acetonitrile solutions of analytically pure 1–3 , 5 and 6 containing NEt 3 and in some cases H 2 O using 1 H NMR and UV-vis revealed evidence for the formation of additional bis-ligand complexes ( 4 and 8 ) but suggested no oxidative diketonate cleavage reactivity. Analysis of the organic products generated from 3 , 7-ClO4 and 7-Cl revealed unaltered dibenzoylmethane. Our results therefore indicate that N 3 -ligated Ni( ii ) complexes of unsubstituted diketonate ligands do not exhibit O 2 -dependent aliphatic C–C bond clevage at room temperature, including in the presence of NEt 3 and/or H 2 O.« less