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The gaseous phase as a probe of the astrophysical solid phase chemistry

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Authors : N. Abou Mrad, F. Duvernay, R. Isnard, T. Chiavassa and G. Danger.
Abstract : In support to space missions and spectroscopic observations, laboratory experiments on ice analogs enable a better understanding of organic matter formation and evolution in astrophysical environments. Herein, we report the monitoring of the gaseous phase of processed astrophysical ice analogs to determine if the gaseous phase can elucidate chemical mechanisms and dominant reaction pathways occurring in the solid ice submitted to VUV irradiation at low temperature and subsequently warmed. Simple (CH3OH), binary (H2O:CH3OH, CH3OH:NH3) and ternary ice analogs (H2O:CH3OH:NH3) were VUV-processed and warmed. The evolution of volatile organic compounds in the gaseous phase shows a direct link between their relative abundances in the gaseous phase and the radical and thermal chemistries modifying the
initial ice composition. The correlation between the gaseous and solid phases may have a crucial importance to decipher the organic composition of astrophysical objects. As an example, possible solid compositions of comet Lovejoy are suggested using abundances of organics in its comae.
Journal : The Astrophysical Journal 2017, 837, 168