Discovery of the Methoxy Radical, CH3O, toward B1: Dust Grain and Gas-phase Chemistry in Cold Dark Clouds
We report on the discovery of the methoxy radical (CH3O) toward the cold and dense core B1-b based on the observation, with the IRAM 30 m radio telescope, of several lines at 3 and 2 mm wavelengths. Besides this new molecular species we also report on the detection of many lines arising from methyl mercaptan (CH3SH), formic acid (HCOOH), propynal (HCCCHO), acetaldehyde (CH3CHO), dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3), methyl formate (CH3OCOH), and the formyl radical (HCO). The column density of all these species is sime1012 cm-2, corresponding to abundances of sime10-11. The similarity in abundances for all these species strongly suggest that they are formed on the surface of dust grains and ejected to the gas phase through non-thermal desorption processes, most likely cosmic rays or secondary photons. Nevertheless, laboratory experiments indicate that the CH3O isomer released to the gas phase is CH2OH rather than the methoxy one. Possible gas-phase formation routes to CH3O from OH and methanol are discussed.This work was based on observations carried out with the IRAM 30 m telescope. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany), and IGN (Spain).