LBNL: Wrinkle in Forming Complex Carbon Molecules in Space

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LBNL: Wrinkle in Forming Complex Carbon Molecules in Space

Post by bystander » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:29 pm

'Radical' Wrinkle in Forming Complex Carbon Molecules in Space
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | 2019 Sep 03
This composite image shows an illustration of a carbon-rich red giant star (middle)
warming an exoplanet (bottom left) and an overlay of a newly found chemical pathway
that could enable complex carbons to form near these stars. (Credits: ESO/L. Calçada;
Berkeley Lab, Florida International University, and University of Hawaii at Manoa)
A team of scientists has discovered a new possible pathway toward forming carbon structures in space using a specialized chemical exploration technique at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The team’s research has now identified several avenues by which ringed molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, can form in space. The latest study is a part of an ongoing effort to retrace the chemical steps leading to the formation of complex carbon-containing molecules in deep space.

PAHs – which also occur on Earth in emissions and soot from the combustion of fossil fuels – could provide clues to the formation of life’s chemistry in space as precursors to interstellar nanoparticles. They are estimated to account for about 20 percent of all carbon in our galaxy, and they have the chemical building blocks needed to form 2D and 3D carbon structures. ...

Molecular mass growth through ring expansion in polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons via radical–radical reactions
~ Long Zhao et al
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