Context. Sulfur-containing molecules constitute only 8% of the molecules observed in the interstellar medium (ISM), in spite of the fact that sulfur has been shown to be an abundant element in the ISM. In order to understand the chemical behavior of the ISM and specific cases like the missing sulfur reservoir, a detailed chemical molecular composition in the ISM must be mapped out.
Aims: Our goal is to investigate the rotational spectrum of ethyl methyl sulfide, CH3CH2SCH3, which seems to be a potential candidate for observation in the ISM since the simpler analogs, CH3SH and CH3CH2SH, have already been detected. Rotational spectrum of ethyl methyl sulfide has been observed before, but its experimental rotational parameters are not precise enough to allow its detection in the ISM.
Methods: The rotational spectrum of ethyl methyl sulfide in the frequency range 72-116.5 GHz was measured using a broadband millimeter-wave spectrometer based on radio astronomy receivers with fast Fourier transform backends. The spectral searches and identification of the vibrational excited states of ethyl methyl sulfide was supported by high-level ab initio calculations on the harmonic and anharmonic force fields.
Results: The rotational spectra for the trans and gauche conformers of ethyl methyl sulfide was analyzed, and a total of 172 and 259 rotational transitions were observed for each one, respectively. The observation of A - E internal rotation splittings allowed the experimental determination of the V3 hindered internal rotation barrier height for both trans and gauche species. In addition, the vibrational excited states, resulting from the lowest frequency vibrational mode ν30 were identified for both conformers. The new experimental rotational parameters were employed to search for ethyl methyl sulfide in the warm and cold molecular clouds Orion KL, Sgr B2(N), B1-b and TMC-1, using the spectral surveys captured by IRAM 30 m at 3 mm and 2 mm.