Authors: Agundez, M.; Cabezas, C.; Tercero, B.; Marcelino, N.; Gallego, J. D.; de Vicente, P.; Cernicharo, J.
Journal: ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS
Publication date: 2021/03/18
Abstract: We present the first identification in interstellar space of the propargyl radical (CH2CCH). This species was observed in the cold dark cloud TMC-1 using the Yebes 40 m telescope. The six strongest hyperfine components of the 2(0, 2)-1(0, 1) rotational transition, lying at 37.46 GHz, were detected with signal-to-noise ratios from 4.6 sigma to 12.3 sigma. We derived a column density of 8.7×10(13) cm(-2) for CH2CCH, which translates to a fractional abundance relative to H-2 of 8.7×10(-9). This radical has a similar abundance as methyl acetylene, with an abundance ratio CH2CCH/CH3CCH close to one. The propargyl radical is thus one of the most abundant radicals detected in TMC-1, and it is probably the most abundant organic radical with a certain chemical complexity ever found in a cold dark cloud. We constructed a gas-phase chemical model and find calculated abundances that agree with, or fall two orders of magnitude below, the observed value depending on the poorly constrained low-temperature reactivity of CH2CCH with neutral atoms. According to the chemical model, the propargyl radical is essentially formed by the C + C2H4 reaction and by the dissociative recombination of C-3 H n + ions with n = 4-6. The propargyl radical is believed to control the synthesis of the first aromatic ring in combustion processes, and it probably plays a key role in the synthesis of large organic molecules and cyclization processes to benzene in cold dark clouds.