3 years ago

Deuterium and $^{15}$N fractionation in N$_2$H$^+$ during the formation of a Sun-like star.

R. Bachiller, J. Soldateschi, C. Ceccarelli, C. Codella, C. Vastel, E. Caux, F. Fontani, A. López-Sepulcre, B. Lefloch, M. De Simone

Although chemical models predict that the deuterium fractionation in N$_2$H$^+$ is a good evolutionary tracer in the star formation process, the fractionation of nitrogen is still a poorly understood process. Recent models have questioned the similar evolutionary trend expected for the two fractionation mechanisms in N$_2$H$^+$, based on a classical scenario in which ion-neutral reactions occurring in cold gas should have caused an enhancement of the abundance of N$_2$D$^+$, $^{15}$NNH$^+$, and N$^{15}$NH$^+$. In the framework of the ASAI IRAM-30m large program, we have investigated the fractionation of deuterium and $^{15}$N in N$_2$H$^+$ in the best known representatives of the different evolutionary stages of the Sun-like star formation process. The goal is to ultimately confirm (or deny) the classical "ion-neutral reactions" scenario that predicts a similar trend for D and $^{15}$N fractionation. We do not find any evolutionary trend of the $^{14}$N/$^{15}$N ratio from both the $^{15}$NNH$^+$ and N$^{15}$NH$^+$ isotopologues. Therefore, our findings confirm that, during the formation of a Sun-like star, the core evolution is irrelevant in the fractionation of $^{15}$N. The independence of the $^{14}$N/$^{15}$N ratio with time, found also in high-mass star-forming cores, indicates that the enrichment in $^{15}$N revealed in comets and protoplanetary disks is unlikely to happen at core scales. Nevertheless, we have firmly confirmed the evolutionary trend expected for the H/D ratio, with the N$_2$H$^+$/N$_2$D$^+$ ratio decreasing before the pre-stellar core phase, and increasing monotonically during the protostellar phase. We have also confirmed clearly that the two fractionation mechanisms are not related.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.07539

DOI: arXiv:1801.07539v1

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