2008 Annual Science Report
University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting | JUL 2007 – JUN 2008
Formation of Molecular Hydrogen via Interaction of Ionizing Radiation With Hydrocarbon Ices in the Interstellar Medium
In the interstellar medium, the formation of molecular hydrogen is still
unresolved. Various production mechanisms have been proposed.
These involve a) dissociative recombination of H3+ with an electron, b)
formation on grain surfaces, and c) formation in ices via interaction of
cosmic ray particles. Here, we are conducting laboratory experiment to
investigate to what extent cosmic ray particles can form molecular
hydrogen upon interaction with ice-coated interstellar grain particles.
The formation routes to be elucidated can be also exported to ices in
our Solar system.
On his sabbatical, Prof. Vidali (Univ. Syracuse) and Prof. Kaiser investigated the formation of molecular hydrogen upon interaction of ionizing radiation (energetic electrons) with simple hydrides like methane ices. This work is still in progress.