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Physics  2015 

Deuterated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: Revisited

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The amount of deuterium locked up in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has to date been an uncertain value. We present a near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic survey of HII regions in the Milky Way, Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) obtained with AKARI, which aims to search for features indicative of deuterated PAHs (PAD or Dn-PAH) to better constrain the D/H ratio of PAHs. Fifty-three HII regions were observed in the NIR (2.5-5 {\mu}m), using the Infrared Camera (IRC) on board the AKARI satellite. Through comparison of the observed spectra with a theoretical model of deuterated PAH vibrational modes, the aromatic and (a)symmetric aliphatic C-D stretch modes were identified. We see emission features between 4.4-4.8 {\mu}m, which could be unambiguously attributed to deuterated PAHs in only six of the observed sources, all of which are located in the Milky Way. In all cases, the aromatic C-D stretching feature is weaker than the aliphatic C-D stretching feature, and, in the case of M17b, this feature is not observed at all. Based on the weak or absent PAD features in most of the observed spectra, it is suggested that the mechanism for PAH deuteration in the ISM is uncommon.


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