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X-ray photodesorption from water ice in protoplanetary disks and X-ray dominated regions

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Authors : R. Dupuy, M. Bertin, G. Féraud, M. Hassenfratz, X. Michaut, T. Putaud, L. Philippe, P. Jeseck, M. Angelucci, R. Cimino, V. Baglin, C. Romanzin & J.-H. Fillion

Abstract : Water is the main constituent of interstellar ices, and it plays a key role in the evolution of many regions of the interstellar medium, from molecular clouds to planet-forming disks. In cold regions of the ISM, water is expected to be completely frozen out onto the dust grains. Nonetheless, observations indicate the presence of cold water vapor, implying that non-thermal desorption mechanisms are at play. Photodesorption by UV photons has been proposed to explain these observations, with the support of extensive experimental and theoretical work on ice analogues. In contras photodesorption by X-rays, another viable mechanism, has been little studied. The potential of this process to desorb key molecules, such as water, intact rather than fragmented or ionised, remains unexplored. We experimentally investigated X-ray photodesorption from water ice, monitoring all desorbing species. We find that desorption of neutral water is efficient, while ion desorption is minor. We derive for the first time yields that can be implemented in astrochemical models. These results open up the possibility of taking into account the X-ray photodesorption process in the modelling of protoplanetary disks or X-ray dominated regions.
Journal : Nature Astronomy NA