First detection of cyanamide (NH₂CN) towards solar-type protostars

Coutens, A.; Willis, E. R.; Garrod, R. T.; Müller, H. S. P.; Bourke, T. L.; Calcutt, H.; Drozdovskaya, M. N.; Jørgensen, J. K.; Ligterink, N. F. W.; Persson, M. V.; Stéphan, G.; van der Wiel, M. H. D.; van Dishoeck, E. F.; Wampfler, S. F. (2018). First detection of cyanamide (NH₂CN) towards solar-type protostars. Astronomy and astrophysics, 612, A107. EDP Sciences 10.1051/0004-6361/201732346

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Searches for the prebiotically relevant cyanamide (NH₂CN) towards solar-type protostars have not been reported in the literature. We present here the first detection of this species in the warm gas surrounding two solar-type protostars, using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array Protostellar Interferometric Line Survey (PILS) of IRAS 16293–2422 B and observations from the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer of NGC 1333 IRAS2A. We also detected the deuterated and 13C isotopologs of NH₂CN towards IRAS 16293–2422 B. This is the first detection of NHDCN in the interstellar medium. Based on a local thermodynamic equilibrium analysis, we find that the deuteration of cyanamide (~1.7%) is similar to that of formamide (NH₂CHO), which may suggest that these two molecules share NH₂ as a common precursor. The NH₂CN/NH₂CHO abundance ratio is about 0.2 for IRAS 16293–2422 B and 0.02 for IRAS2A, which is comparable to the range of values found for Sgr B2. We explored the possible formation of NH2CN on grains through the NH₂ + CN reaction using the chemical model MAGICKAL. Grain-surface chemistry appears capable of reproducing the gas-phase abundance of NH2CN with the correct choice of physical parameters.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Drozdovskaya, Maria Nikolayevna, Ligterink, Niels Frank Willem, Wampfler, Susanne


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
500 Science > 530 Physics




EDP Sciences




Danielle Zemp

Date Deposited:

20 Apr 2020 16:28

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:26

Publisher DOI:





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