# First detection of NHD and ND$_2$ in the interstellar medium - Amidogen deuteration in IRAS 16293-2422

### Abstract

Deuterium fractionation processes in the interstellar medium (ISM) have been shown to be highly efficient in the family of nitrogen hydrides. To date, observations have been limited to ammonia (NH2D, NHD2, ND3) and imidogen radical (ND) isotopologues. We want to explore the high-frequency windows offered by the Herschel Space Observatory to search for deuterated forms of the amidogen radical NH2 and to compare the observations against the predictions of our comprehensive gas-grain chemical model. Making use of the new molecular spectroscopy data recently obtained at high frequencies for NHD and ND2, we searched for both isotopologues in the spectral survey toward the Class 0 protostar IRAS 16293-2422, a source in which NH3, NH, and their deuterated variants have previously been detected. We used the observations carried out with HIFI (Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared) in the framework of the key program “Chemical Herschel surveys of star forming regions” (CHESS). We report the first detection of interstellar NHD and ND2. Both species are observed in absorption against the continuum of the protostar. From the analysis of their hyperfine structure, accurate excitation temperature and column density values are determined. The latter were combined with the column density of the parent species NH2 to derive the deuterium fractionation in amidogen. We find a high deuteration level of amidogen radical in IRAS 16293-2422, with a deuterium enhancement about one order of magnitude higher than that predicted by earlier astrochemical models. Such a high enhancement can only be reproduced by a gas-grain chemical model if the pre-stellar phase preceding the formation of the protostellar system has a long duration: on the order of one million years. The amidogen D/H ratio measured in the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293-2422 is comparable to that derived for the related species imidogen and much higher than that observed for ammonia. Additional observations of these species will provide more insights into the mechanism of ammonia formation and deuteration in the ISM. Finally, we indicate the current possibilities to further explore these species at submillimeter wavelengths.

Publication
Astronomy & Astrophysics
##### Marie-Aline Martin-Drumel
###### Researcher

My research interests focus on molecular spectroscopy of stable molecules and reactive species, and its applications for astrophysics and physical-chemistry.

##### Olivier Pirali
###### Director of Research

My research interests includes high resolution molecular spectroscopy, laboratory astrophysics, and THz generation.