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OnderzoekVan Swinderen Institute

Physics: Prof. dr. H.V.J. Linnartz, University of Leiden: Chemistry between the stars - Searching for Molecular Complexity in a Cosmic Cocktail

Roster

WhenWhere
27 November 2008 FWN-Building 5111.0080, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG, Groningen
Speaker: Physics: Prof. dr. Harold Linnartz
Affiliation: University of Leiden
Title: Chemistry between the stars - Searching for Molecular Complexity in a Cosmic Cocktail
Date: 27-11-2008
Start: 16.00
Location: FWN-Building 5111.0080

Abstract

More than 140 different molecules have been identified in inter- and circumstellar clouds. These range from simple diatomic species such as H2 and CO to exotic radicals (linear C6H and HC11N) and complex organic molecules like CH3OCH3 and CH3CH2CN.This chemical complexity has been explained for many years by gas-phase processes driven by cosmic-ray ionization but new models show that such processes only reproduce observed abundances of the smaller and open shell, i.e. unstable species. Exciting new evidence has now been found that icy dust grains with temperatures as low as 15 K act as catalytic sites for molecule formation and that the formation of the more complex species involves surface processes in ices on interstellar grains. Thermal and UV processing of the ices in combination with a permanent bombardment by H-, N-, O- and C-atoms subsequently trigger a so far barely understood chemical evolution.

Last modified:12 September 2014 11.22 a.m.