Authors: Massalkhi, S.; Agundez, M.; Cernicharo, J.; Velilla-Prieto, L.

Contribution: Article


Publication date: 2020/09/09

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202037900

Abstract: Aims. We aim to determine the abundances of SiO, CS, SiS, SO, and SO2 in a large sample of oxygen-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) envelopes covering a wide range of mass loss rates to investigate the potential role that these molecules could play in the formation of dust in these environments.Methods. We surveyed a sample of 30 oxygen-rich AGB stars in the lambda 2 mm band using the IRAM 30m telescope. We performed excitation and radiative transfer calculations based on the large velocity gradient method to model the observed lines of the molecules and to derive their fractional abundances in the observed envelopes.Results. We detected SiO in all 30 targeted envelopes, as well as CS, SiS, SO, and SO2 in 18, 13, 26, and 19 sources, respectively. Remarkably, SiS is not detected in any envelope with a mass loss rate below 10(-6)M(circle dot) yr(-1), whereas it is detected in all envelopes with mass loss rates above that threshold. From a comparison with a previous, similar study on C-rich sources, it becomes evident that the fractional abundances of CS and SiS show a marked differentiation between C-rich and O-rich sources, being two orders of magnitude and one order of magnitude more abundant in C-rich sources, respectively, while the fractional abundance of SiO turns out to be insensitive to the C/O ratio. The abundance of SiO in O-rich envelopes behaves similarly to C-rich sources, that is, the denser the envelope the lower its abundance. A similar trend, albeit less clear than for SiO, is observed for SO in O-rich sources.Conclusions. The marked dependence of CS and SiS abundances on the C/O ratio indicates that these two molecules form more efficiently in C- than O-rich envelopes. The decline in the abundance of SiO with increasing envelope density and the tentative one for SO indicate that SiO and possibly SO act as gas-phase precursors of dust in circumstellar envelopes around O-rich AGB stars.