Formation of Covalently Bonded Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Interstellar Medium

Tao Chen1,2
Astrophysical Journal 866, 113 Link to Article [DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aae38f]
1Leiden University, Leiden Observatory, Niels Bohrweg 2, NL-2333 CA Leiden, Netherlands
2School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health, Department of Theoretical Chemistry & Biology, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-10691, Stockholm, Sweden

Photo-/ion-induced ionization and dissociation processes are commonly observed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules. This work performs theoretical studies of PAHs and their fragments. Molecular dynamics simulations in combination with static quantum chemical calculations reveal that following a single hydrogen atom loss, the fragments, PAH-H, are extremely reactive. They catch a neighbor molecule within picoseconds to form a covalently bonded large molecule regardless of orientations/angles and temperatures. We calculate the infrared spectra of the covalently bonded molecules, which indicate that such species could be the carrier of unidentified infrared emission bands. It also implies that regular PAHs might be less abundant in space than what is expected.

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