Catalytic Role Of HI In The Interstellar Synthesis Of Complex Organic Molecules

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
May 21, 2023
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Catalytic Role Of HI In The Interstellar Synthesis Of Complex Organic Molecules
HOMO (left) and LUMO (right) of C4H4N2O (a), NH2CN (b), HNCN (c). — astro-ph.GA

Using quantum chemical calculations, we model the pathways for synthesizing two purine nucleobases, adenine and guanine, in the gas-phase interstellar environment, surrounded by neutral atomic hydrogen (HI).

HI is found active in facilitating a series of fundamental proton transfer processes of organic synthesis, including bond formation, cyclization, dehydrogenation, and H migration. The reactive potential barriers were significantly reduced in the alternative pathways created by HI, leading to a remarkable increase in the reaction rate.

The presence of HI also lowered the reactive activation temperature from 757.8 K to 131.5-147.0 K, indicating the thermodynamic feasibility of these pathways in star-forming regions where some of the reactants have been astronomically detected. Our findings suggest that HI may serve as an effective catalyst for interstellar organic synthesis.

Shuming Yang, Peng Xie, Enwei Liang, Zhao Wang

Comments: 6 figures
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:2305.11409 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:2305.11409v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
Journal reference: Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 23, 055019 (2023)
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Submission history
From: Zhao Wang
[v1] Fri, 19 May 2023 03:39:51 UTC (722 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻