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Cosmic-ray tracks in astrophysical ices: Modeling with the Geant4-DNA Monte Carlo toolkit

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Shingledecker,  Christopher N.
Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Ivlev,  Alexei
Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Caselli,  Paola
Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Shingledecker, C. N., Incerti, S., Ivlev, A., Emfietzoglou, D., Kyriakou, I., Vasyunin, A., et al. (2020). Cosmic-ray tracks in astrophysical ices: Modeling with the Geant4-DNA Monte Carlo toolkit. The Astrophysical Journal, 904(2): 189. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abbb30.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-FDB0-5
Abstract
Cosmic rays are ubiquitous in interstellar environments, and their bombardment of dust-grain ice mantles is a possible driver for the formation of complex, even prebiotic molecules. Yet, critical data that are essential for accurate modeling of this phenomenon, such as the average radii of cosmic-ray tracks in amorphous solid water (ASW) remain unconstrained. It is shown that cosmic-ray tracks in ASW can be approximated as a cylindrical volume with an average radius that is mostly independent of the initial particle energy. Interactions between energetic ions and both low-density amorphous (LDA) and high-density amorphous (HDA) ice targets are simulated using the Geant4-DNA Monte Carlo toolkit, which allows for tracking secondary electrons down to subexcitation energies in the material. We find the peak track-core radii, r cyl, for LDA and HDA ices to be 9.9 nm and 8.4 nm, respectively—somewhat less than double the value of 5 nm often assumed in astrochemical models.