The Chemistry of Cosmic Dust Analogs from C, C-2, and C(2)H(2)in C-rich Circumstellar Envelopes

Santoro, G., Martínez, L., Lauwaet, K., Accolla, M., Tajuelo Castilla, G., Merino, P., Sobrado, J. M., Pelaez, R. J., Herrero, V. J. Tanarro, I., Mayoral, A., Agundez, M., Sabbah, H., Joblin, C., Cernicharo, J., Martín Gago, J. A. (2020). The Chemistry of Cosmic Dust Analogs from C, C-2, and C(2)H(2)in C-rich Circumstellar Envelopes. Astrophysical Journal 895, 2 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab9086

Interstellar carbonaceous dust is mainly formed in the innermost regions of circumstellar envelopes around carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch stars (AGBs). In these highly chemically stratified regions, atomic and diatomic carbon, along with acetylene, are the most abundant species after H(2)and CO. In a previous study, we addressed the chemistry of carbon (C and C-2) with H(2)showing that acetylene and aliphatic species form efficiently in the dust formation region of carbon-rich AGBs whereas aromatics do not. Still, acetylene is known to be a key ingredient in the formation of linear polyacetylenic chains, benzene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as shown by previous experiments. However, these experiments have not considered the chemistry of carbon (C and C-2) with C2H2. In this work, by employing a sufficient amount of acetylene, we investigate its gas-phase interaction with atomic and diatomic carbon. We show that the chemistry involved produces linear polyacetylenic chains, benzene, and other PAHs, which are observed with high abundances in the early evolutionary phase of planetary nebulae. More importantly, we have found a nonnegligible amount of pure and hydrogenated carbon clusters as well as aromatics with aliphatic substitutions, both being a direct consequence of the addition of atomic carbon. The incorporation of alkyl substituents into aromatics can be rationalized by a mechanism involving hydrogen abstraction followed by methyl addition. All the species detected in the gas phase are incorporated into nanometric-sized dust analogs, which consist of a complex mixture of sp, sp(2), and sp(3)hydrocarbons with amorphous morphology.

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