Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New light cast on key chemical reactions in interstellar space

A detailed understanding of key chemical reactions that take place in interstellar space has been provided by groundbreaking research at two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories and two European universities.

Argonne National Laboratory senior chemist Stephen Klippenstein – along with colleagues at Sandia National Laboratories; the Institute of Physics, University of Rennes, France; and the University of Cambridge, U.K. – has developed a detailed understanding of the dynamics of reactions between neutral radicals and neutral molecules, known as “neutral-neutral” reactions, at temperatures as low as 20 Kelvin, approximately the temperature of interstellar space.

In their work, Klippenstein and his collaborators determined why certain molecules reacted rapidly even at low temperatures by carefully comparing theory and experiment for a sample class of reactions (O3P + alkenes) that spans the range from non-reactive to highly reactive. The observed results from the experiment closely correlated with theoretical predictions, said Klippenstein.

“It was remarkable," he said, "just how well theory and experiment agreed throughout the whole spectrum from 20 Kelvin to room temperature. This means that we can rely on theory to predict which reactions will happen quickly.”

Establishing a working model for interstellar chemistry is especially important given the difficulty of performing large-scale experiments, according to Klippenstein.

“My collaborators have developed some great experimental techniques for measuring these reactions at low temperatures," he said. "But such experiments are still very time-consuming and are also hard to apply to many reactions. So schemes for predicting the reactivity for arbitrary reactions, either a priori or from extrapolation of measurements at higher temperatures, are of great utility to modelers of interstellar chemistry.”

Prior experimental studies with the CRESU (Reaction Kinetics in Uniform Supersonic Flow) technique demonstrated that a “surprising number” of neutral-neutral reactions remain rapid at very low temperatures. As a result, such reactions can play an important role in the chemistry of interstellar space, in contrast with the conventional wisdom that interstellar chemistry is essentially all ion-based.

The paper, entitled “Understanding Reactivity at Very Low Temperatures: The Reactions of Oxygen Atoms with Alkenes,” appears in the July 6 issue of Science.

This research was supported by the Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences within the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy.

With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne National Laboratory brings the world's brightest scientists and engineers together to find exciting and creative new solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America 's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

For more information, please contact Sylvia Carson (630/252-5510 or at Argonne.

Sylvia Carson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>