Journal Article

Chemistry in cosmic ray dominated regions

E. Bayet, D. A. Williams, T. W. Hartquist and S. Viti

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 414, issue 2, pages 1583-1591
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Chemistry in cosmic ray dominated regions

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Molecular line observations may serve as diagnostics of the degree to which the number density of cosmic ray protons, having energies of 10s to 100s of MeV each, is enhanced in starburst galaxies and galaxies with active nuclei. Results, obtained with the ucl_pdr code, for the fractional abundances of molecules as functions of the cosmic ray induced ionization rate, ζ, are presented. The aim is not to model any particular external galaxies. Rather, it is to identify characteristics of the dependencies of molecular abundances on ζ, in part to enable the development of suitable observational programmes for cosmic ray dominated regions (CRDRs) which will then stimulate detailed modelling. For a number density of hydrogen nuclei of of 104 cm−3, and high visual extinction, the fractional abundances of some species increase as ζ increases to 10−14 s−1, but for much higher values of ζ the fractional abundances of all molecular species are significantly below their peak values. We show in particular that OH, H2O, H+3, H3O+ and OH+ attain large fractional abundances (≥10−8) for ζ as large as 10−12 s−1. HCO+ is a poor tracer of CRDRs when ζ > 10−13 s−1. Sulphur-bearing species may be useful tracers of CRDR gas in which ζ∼ 10−16 s−1. Ammonia has a large fractional abundance for ζ≤ 10−16 s−1 and nitrogen appears in CN-bearing species at significant levels as ζ increases, even up to ∼10−14 s−1. In this paper, we also discuss our model predictions, comparing them to recent detections in both Galactic and extragalactic sources. We show that they agree well, to a first approximation, with the observational constraints.

Keywords: astrochemistry; methods: numerical; ISM: abundances; galaxies: ISM; galaxies: star formation; submillimetre: general

Journal Article.  5311 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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