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Evidence of Surface Catalytic Effect on Cosmic Dust Grain Analogs: The Ammonia and Carbon Dioxide Surface Reaction

Abstract : Surface chemistry on cosmic dust grains plays an important role in the formation of molecules at low temperatures in the interstellar and circumstellar environments. For the first time, we experimentally put in evidence the catalytic role of dust surfaces using the thermal reaction CO2 + 2NH3 → {NH}}4}+NH2COO-, which is also a proxy of radical-radical reactions. Nanometer-sized amorphous silicate and carbon grains produced in our laboratory were used as grain analogs. Surface catalysis on grains accelerates the kinetics of the reaction studied at a temperature of 80 K by a factor of up to 3 compared to the reaction occurring in the molecular solid. The evidence of the catalytic effect of grain surfaces opens a door for experiments and calculations on the formation of interstellar and circumstellar molecules on dust. Ammonium carbamate on the surface of grains or released intact into protostellar or protoplanetary disk phases can give start to a network of prebiotic reactions. Therefore, there should be a great interest to search for ammonium carbamate and its daughter molecule, carbamic acid, in interstellar clouds, protostellar envelopes, and protoplanetary disks.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 4:49:39 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, May 14, 2022 - 3:03:48 AM

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Alexey Potapov, Patrice Theulé, Cornelia Jäger, Thomas Henning. Evidence of Surface Catalytic Effect on Cosmic Dust Grain Analogs: The Ammonia and Carbon Dioxide Surface Reaction. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2019, 878, ⟨10.3847/2041-8213/ab2538⟩. ⟨insu-03666744⟩

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