Understanding Interstellar Chemistry: A Look at Methanol Branching Ratios and the Search for Aminomethanol Open Access

McCabe, Morgan Nicole (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/7p88cg72k?locale=en
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Abstract

Understanding the complex chemistry of the interstellar medium (ISM) is a current challenge for astronomers and chemists alike. With nearly 200 species found thus far in the ISM, our understanding is growing; however, important questions remain. Among the species detected, methanol is a major species of interest due to its abundance in the ISM and the important radicals it produces upon photodissociation. Two major questions are: What are the branching ratios for the products of methanol photodissociation; and can glycine form in the interstellar medium? This dissertation reports on my current work and progress at attempting to answer these questions. First, I have searched for the rotational spectrum of aminomethanol, a believed glycine precursor. Second, I have studied photodissociation of methanol in an attempt to find the branching ratios for the formation of hydroxymethyl and methoxy radicals that have a large effect on complex organic molecule formation in the ISM.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1.2 Methanol in the ISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

1.3 Aminomethanol in the ISM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

2 Experimental 7

2.1 General Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

2.2 Methanol Experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

2.3 Aminomethanol Experiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

3 Methanol Results 12

4 Aminomethanol Results 15

5 Conclusion and Future work 22

Appendices 25 A 25 B 28

C 35

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