Molecular hydrogen formation on porous dust grains

Hagai B. Perets*, Ofer Biham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent laboratory experiments on interstellar dust analogues have shown that H2 formation on dust-grain surfaces is efficient in a range of grain temperatures below 20 K. These results indicate that surface processes may account for the observed H2 abundance in cold diffuse and dense clouds. However, high abundances of H2 have also been observed in warmer clouds, including photon-dominated regions (PDRs), where grain temperatures may reach 50 K, making the surface processes extremely inefficient. It was suggested that this apparent discrepancy can be resolved by chemisorption sites. However, recent experiments indicate that chemisorption processes may not be efficient at PDR temperatures. Here we consider the effect of grain porosity on H2 formation, and analyse it using a rate-equation model. It is found that porosity extends the efficiency of the recombination process to higher temperatures. This is because H atoms that desorb from the internal surfaces of the pores may re-adsorb many times and thus stay longer on the surface. However, this porosity-driven extension may enable efficient H2 formation in PDRs only if porosity also contributes to significant cooling of the grains, compared to non-porous grains.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)801-806
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume365
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2006

Keywords

  • ISM: molecules
  • Molecular processes

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