Scientists have shown for the first time how the simplest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), indene, can form without a barrier at temperatures corresponding to space conditions.
Scientists of the Samara National Research University named after Academician S. P. Korolev were the first to describe the process of the appearance in space of an organic molecule, which plays an important role in the chemical evolution of the Universe.
We are talking about small solid solid hydrocarbon particles containing PAHs, they are also called interstellar grains: in fact, they act as molecular cosmic factories for the synthesis of organics, for example, amino acids or sugars.
According to scientists, grains with such molecules move through space, sometimes find themselves in favorable conditions, where, on their basis, the origin of life is possible.
The reaction we have described occurs between a styrene molecule and a methylidine radical. As a result, an intermediate state is obtained, which cyclizes and subsequently leads to the formation of aromatic indene and atomic hydrogen.
Galiya Galimova, one of the authors of the study, PhD student at Samara University
At the moment, there are no alternatives to the described mechanism of indene formation in space.
The carried out astrochemical modeling of the proposed reaction fully confirmed its possibility in space conditions.