Formation of Sodium-bearing species in the interstellar medium

Kinsuk Acharyya, David E Woon, Eric Herbst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sodium-bearing species such as NaCl in the gas phase have been observed in an assortment of carbon-rich and oxygen-rich stellar atmospheres and interstellar environments such as the high-mass protostellar disc surrounding Orion Src1 and the proto-binary system, IRAS 16547-4247. Their detection in relatively low-temperature regions is yet to be made. In this paper, we consider the synthesis of sodium-bearing species with an emphasis on NaCl, via both gas-phase and grain-surface chemistry under assorted interstellar conditions. We also consider the chemistry leading to the gas-phase species NaH and NaOH. Two classes of numerical simulations were run: models under isothermal conditions at temperatures from 10 to 800 K with varied intervals, and three-phase warm-up models that consist of an initial isothermal collapse at 10 K, followed by a warm-up phase in which temperature rises linearly to 200 K, and finally a hot core phase. We have included reactive desorption for both models to produce gaseous NaCl, NaH, and NaOH. We found that for isothermal models over a broad parameter space, the fractional abundances of gaseous NaCl and NaOH can reach above 2 × 10 -10 and approx. 1 × 10 -10, respectively, are in the detection range of observational facilities such as Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array and JWST. For warm-up models, we found that if we consider molecules to be co-desorbed with water, gaseous NaCl can have a sufficiently large abundance for detection. We then conclude that both gaseous NaCl and NaOH can be detected; however, more experiments and quantum mechanical calculations are needed to constrain the relevant reaction rates better.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1722-1732
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: atoms
  • ISM: molecules
  • astrochemistry
  • dust, extinction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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