Identification of PAH Isomeric Structure in Cosmic Dust Analogs: The AROMA Setup

Hassan Sabbah, Anthony Bonnamy, Dimitris Papanastasiou, Jose Cernicharo, Jose-Angel Martín-Gago, and Christine Joblin

The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 843, Number 1


“We developed a new analytical experimental setup called AROMA (Astrochemistry Research of Organics with Molecular Analyzer) that combines laser desorption/ionization techniques with ion trap mass spectrometry. We report here on the ability of the apparatus to detect aromatic species in complex materials of astrophysical interest and characterize their structures. A limit of detection of 100 femto-grams has been achieved using pure polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) samples, which corresponds to 2 × 108 molecules in the case of coronene (C24H12). We detected the PAH distribution in the Murchison meteorite, which is made of a complex mixture of extraterrestrial organic compounds. In addition, collision induced dissociation experiments were performed on selected species detected in Murchison, which led to the first firm identification of pyrene and its methylated derivatives in this sample.”