The effects of methanol on the trapping of volatile ice components

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Burke, Daren J ; Brown, Wendy A (2015)

The evaporation of icy mantles, which have been formed on the surface of dust grains, is acknowledged to give rise to the rich chemistry that has been observed in the vicinity of hot cores and corinos. It has long been established that water ice is the dominant species within many astrophysical ices. However, other molecules found within astrophysical ices, particularly methanol, can influence the desorption of volatile species from the ice. Here we present a detailed investigation of the adsorption and desorption of methanol-containing ices, showing the effect that methanol has on the trapping and release of volatiles from model interstellar ices. OCS and CO2 have been used as probe molecules since they have been suggested to reside in water-rich and methanol-rich environments. Experiments show that methanol fundamentally changes the desorption characteristics of both OCS and CO2, leading to the observation of mainly codesorption of both species with bulk water ice for the tertiary ices and causing a lowering of the temperature of the volcano component of the desorption. In contrast, binary ices are dominated by standard volcano desorption. This observation clearly shows that codepositing astrophysically relevant impurities with water ice, such as methanol, can alter the desorption dynamics of volatiles that become trapped in the pores of the amorphous water ice during the sublimation process. Incorporating experimental data into a simple model to simulate these processes on astrophysical timescales shows that the additional methanol component releases larger amounts of OCS from the ice mantle at lower temperatures and earlier times. These results are of interest to astronomers as they can be used to model the star formation process, hence giving information about the evolution of our Universe.
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