Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Erika Gibb, PhD.


Erika Gibb (co-advisor)

John Schmitt (co-advisor)

Jerry Peacher

Terry Rettig

Bruce Wilking


In the first portion of this work, we searched for differences in volatiles within a single star forming region, Rho Ophiuchi. We determined the amount, temperature, and composition of two ice features, the bending modes of CO2 and H2O at 15 μm and 6 μm, respectively, toward 28 Young Stellar Objects (YSOs). We found that more than 50% of the YSOs studied contained a portion of crystalline CO2 ice. We also found that some sources with Flat or borderline Class II Spectral Energy Distributions (SEDs) have a larger abundance of CO2 ice with respect to H2O ice. In addition to intracloud differences, we compared our results with several other star forming regions, high mass YSOs, and background objects. The average abundance of CO2 with respect to H2O in Rho Oph is comparable to that in Taurus, Perseus, and the value reported by Oberg et al. (2011) toward high mass YSOs, however, it is less than the average abundance reported toward Corona Australis, Serpens, and the value cited by Oberg et al. (2011) toward low mass YSOs. The second half of this work involved a study of gaseous HCN, C2H2, and CO toward a low mass binary system, GV Tau. We report the second detection of these simple molecules toward a low mass YSO. The abundances of these molecules are consistent with that toward the first low mass YSO with a detection, IRS 46 (Lahuis et al., 2006), models from Willacy and Woods (2009), Walsh et al. (2010), and Markwick et al. (2002), and comets. We also found that these molecules have a rotational temperature of ∼100 K - 200 K, indicating they may be located in the warm molecular layer of the disk. This work is part of a larger study to characterize volatiles (others include CH4, NH3, the 6.8 μm absorption feature, and CH3OH) in the gas and/or solid phase toward YSOs in different star forming regions. This characterization includes temperature, location, mass, evolutionary state, and abundance. These characteristics will be used as a diagnostic tool to determine the evolution of molecules during the star formation process.

Included in

Physics Commons