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The formation of the building blocks of peptides on interstellar dust grains


Van Dishoeck,  E. F.
Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Ligterink, N. F. W., van Scheltinga, J. T., Kofman, V., Taquet, V., Cazaux, S., Jørgensen, J. K., et al. (2020). The formation of the building blocks of peptides on interstellar dust grains. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-15D4-1
The emergence of life on Earth may have its origin in organic molecules formed in the interstellar medium. Molecules with amide and isocyanate groups resemble structures found in peptides and nucleobases and are necessary for their formation. Their formation is expected to take place in the solid state, on icy dust grains, and is studied here by far-UV irradiating a CH4:HNCO mixture at 20 K in the laboratory. Reaction products are detected by means of infrared spectroscopy and temperature programmed desorption - mass spectrometry. Various simple amides and isocyanates are formed, showing the importance of ice chemistry for their interstellar formation. Constrained by experimental conditions, a reaction network is derived, showing possible formation pathways of these species under interstellar conditions.