Translational and rotational energy measurements of photodesorbed water molecules in their vibrational ground state from amorphous solid water

Akihiro Yabushita, Tetsuya Hama, Masaaki Yokoyama, Masahiro Kawasaki, Stefan Andersson, Richard N. Dixon, Michael N.R. Ashfold, Naoki Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


For interstellar grains coated with water ice, the most important desorption mechanism at the edge of molecular clouds is photodesorption of water. To reveal details of the photodesorption mechanism, we have measured the translational and rotational energies of H2O (v = 0) molecules photodesorbed from amorphous solid water and polycrystalline ice following excitation within the first absorption band using a 157nm laser. The measured translational and rotational temperatures are 1800K and 300K, respectively. These energies are in good accord with those predicted by classical molecular dynamics calculations for the "kick-out" of an H2O molecule in the ice by an energetic H atom. The statistical ortho:para ratio of g OPR = 3 is appropriate for the Boltzmann rotational distribution of the H2O molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L80-L83
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this