3 years ago

First detection of the pre-biotic molecule glycolonitrile (HOCH2CN) in the interstellar medium.

S. Zeng, D. Quénard, I. Jiménez-serra, J. Martín-pintado, V. M. Rivilla, L. Testi, R. Martín-doménech

Theories of a pre-RNA world suggest that glycolonitrile (HOCH$_2$CN) is a key species in the process of ribonucleotide assembly, which is considered as a molecular precursor of nucleic acids. In this Letter, we report the first detection of this pre-biotic molecule in the interstellar medium (ISM) by using ALMA data obtained at frequencies between 86.5$\,$GHz and 266.5$\,$GHz toward the Solar-type protostar IRAS16293-2422 B. A total of 15 unblended transitions of HOCH$_2$CN were identified. Our analysis indicates the presence of a cold (T$\rm _{ex}$=24$\pm$8$\,$K) and a warm (T$\rm _{ex}$=158$\pm$38$\,$K) component meaning that this molecule is present in both the inner hot corino and the outer cold envelope of IRAS16293 B. The relative abundance with respect to H$_2$ is (6.5$\pm$0.6)$\times$10$^{-11}$ and $\geq$(6$\pm$2)$\times$10$^{-10}$ for the warm and cold components respectively. Our chemical modelling seems to underproduce the observed abundance for both the warm and cold component under various values of the cosmic-ray ionisation rate ($\zeta$). Key gas phase routes for the formation of this molecule might be missing in our chemical network.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1901.02576

DOI: arXiv:1901.02576v1

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