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Detection of interstellar N2O: A new molecule containing an N-O bond
Ziurys, L. M.; Apponi, A. J.; Hollis, J. M.; Snyder, L. E.
AA(Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ), AB(Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ), AC(Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ), AD(Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 436, no. 2, p. L181-L184 (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Chemical Bonds, Interstellar Gas, Molecular Clouds, Nitrous Oxides, Organic Chemistry, Atmospheric Density, Star Formation, Telescopes, Temperature
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A new interstellar molecule, N2O, known as nitrous oxide or 'laughing gas,' has been detected using the NRAO 12 m telescope. The J = 3 - 2, 4 - 3, 5 - 4, and 6 - 5 rotational transitions of this species at 75, 100, 125, and 150 GHz, respectively, were observed toward Sgr B2(M). The column density derived for N2O in this source is Ntot approx. 1015/sq. cm, which corresponds to a fractional abundance of approx. 10-9, relative to H2. This value implies abundance ratios of N2O/NO approx. 0.1 and N2O/HNO approx. 3 in the Galactic center. Such ratios are in excellent agreement with predictions of ion-molecule models of interstellar chemistry using early-time calculations and primarily neutral-neutral reactions. N2O is the third interstellar molecule detected thus far containing an N-O bond. Such bonds cannot be so rare as previously thought.

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