Complex Organic Molecules in Star- and Planet-Forming Regions
Ewine F. van Dishoeck (Leiden University)
Organic compounds are ubiquitous in space: they are found in diffuse clouds, in the envelopes of evolved stars, in dense star-forming regions, in protoplanetary disks, in comets, on the surfaces of minor planets, and in meteorites and interplanetary dust particles. This brief overview summarizes the observational evidence for the types of organics found in these regions, with emphasis on the complex organic molecules found in low- and high-mass star-forming regions with existing millimeter telescopes. In addition, mid-infrared spectroscopy of disks has revealed surprisingly high abundances of simple organic molecules like C_2H_2 and HCN in the planet-forming zones of disks (inner few AU), which are the building blocks of larger organics. The results will be placed in the context of evolutionary models following the "trail" of organics from collapsing cloud to disks. Prospects for future facilities, in particular ALMA and Herschel at submillimeter wavelengths, as well as JWST-MIRI and ELTs at mid-infrared wavelengths will be discussed.