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First Detection of the Simplest Organic Acid in a Protoplanetary Disk

Favre, Cécile and Fedele, Davide and Semenov, Dmitry and Parfenov, Sergey and Codella, Claudio and Ceccarelli, Cecilia and Bergin, Edwin A. and Chapillon, Edwige and Testi, Leonardo and Hersant, Franck and Lefloch, Bertrand and Fontani, Francesco and Blake, Geoffrey A. and Cleeves, L. Ilsedore and Qi, Chunhua and Schwarz, Kamber R. and Taquet, Vianney (2018) First Detection of the Simplest Organic Acid in a Protoplanetary Disk. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 862 (1). Art. No. L2. ISSN 2041-8213. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aad046.

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The formation of asteroids, comets, and planets occurs in the interior of protoplanetary disks during the early phase of star formation. Consequently, the chemical composition of the disk might shape the properties of the emerging planetary system. In this context, it is crucial to understand whether and what organic molecules are synthesized in the disk. In this Letter, we report the first detection of formic acid (HCOOH) toward the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disk. The observations of the trans-HCOOH 6_((1,6)–5(1,5)) transition were carried out at 129 GHz with Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA). We measured a disk-averaged gas-phase t-HCOOH column density of ~(2–4) × 10^(12) cm^(−2), namely as large as that of methanol. HCOOH is the first organic molecule containing two oxygen atoms detected in a protoplanetary disk, a proof that organic chemistry is very active, albeit difficult to observe, in these objects. Specifically, this simplest acid stands as the basis for synthesis of more complex carboxylic acids used by life on Earth.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Favre, Cécile0000-0002-5789-6931
Codella, Claudio0000-0003-1514-3074
Ceccarelli, Cecilia0000-0001-9664-6292
Bergin, Edwin A.0000-0003-4179-6394
Testi, Leonardo0000-0003-1859-3070
Fontani, Francesco0000-0003-0348-3418
Blake, Geoffrey A.0000-0003-0787-1610
Cleeves, L. Ilsedore0000-0003-2076-8001
Qi, Chunhua0000-0001-8642-1786
Schwarz, Kamber R.0000-0002-6429-9457
Taquet, Vianney0000-0003-0407-7489
Additional Information:© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 April 23; revised 2018 June 20; accepted 2018 June 24; published 2018 July 16. This Letter makes use of the following ALMA data: ADS/JAO. ALMA#2015.1.00845.S (PI C. Favre). ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ. We thank the anonymous referee for useful comments. We are very grateful to Nathalie Brouillet for her comments on formic acid in the ISM. This work was supported by (i) the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, through the grant project SIR (RBSI14ZRHR), (ii) by the Italian Ministero dell'Istruzione, Universit e Ricerca through the grant Progetti Premiali 2012—iALMA (CUP C52I13000140001), (iii) funding from the European Research Council (ERC), project DOC (The Dawn of Organic Chemistry), contract 741002, and (iv) supported by the project PRIN-INAF 2016 The Cradle of Life—GENESIS-SKA (General Conditions in Early Planetary Systems for the rise of life with SKA). The work of S.P. was supported by Act 211 Government of the Russian Federation, contract # 02.A03.21.0006 D.S. acknowledges support from the Heidelberg Institute of Theoretical Studies for the project "Chemical kinetics models and visualization tools: Bridging biology and astronomy."
Group:Astronomy Department, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universita e della Ricerca (MIUR)RBSI14ZRHR
Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Universita e della Ricerca (MIUR)CUP C52I13000140001
European Research Council (ERC)741002
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)UNSPECIFIED
Government of the Russian Federation02.A03.21.0006
Heidelberg Institute of Theoretical StudiesUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:astrochemistry; ISM: molecules; protoplanetary disks; radio lines: ISM; stars: individual (TW Hya)
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180801-142726610
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Cécile Favre et al 2018 ApJL 862 L2
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:88473
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:01 Aug 2018 22:31
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 00:27

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