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Experimental Studies of Gas-Phase Reactivity in Relation to Complex Organic Molecules in Star-Forming Regions

Ilsa R. Cooke 1 Ian R. Sims 1, *
Abstract : The field of astrochemistry concerns the formation and abundance of molecules in the interstellar medium, star-forming regions, exoplanets, and solar system bodies. These astrophysical objects contain the chemical material from which new planets and solar systems are formed. Around 200 molecules have thus far been observed in the interstellar medium; almost half containing six or more atoms and considered "complex" by astronomical standards. All of these complex molecules consist of at least one carbon atom and thus the term complex organic molecules (COMs) has been coined by the astrochemical community. In order to understand the formation and destruction of these COMs under the extreme conditions of star-forming regions, three kinds of activity are involved (1) the astronomical identification of complex molecules present in the interstellar medium; (2) the construction of astrochemical models that attempt to explain the formation routes of the observed molecules; and (3) laboratory measurements and theoretical calculations of critical kinetic parameters that are included in the models. In the following review, we present recent laboratory efforts to produce quantitative kinetic data for gas-phase reactions at low temperatures. We discuss the use of the CRESU technique, a French acronym standing for Cinetique de Reaction en Ecoulement Supersonique Uniforme, which means reaction kinetics in uniform supersonic flow, to measure reactions of astrochemical importance. In particular, we highlight recent and future advances in the measurement of product-specific reaction kinetics at low temperatures.
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Ilsa R. Cooke, Ian R. Sims. Experimental Studies of Gas-Phase Reactivity in Relation to Complex Organic Molecules in Star-Forming Regions. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, ACS, 2019, 3 (7), pp.1109-1134. ⟨10.1021/acsearthspacechem.9b00064⟩. ⟨hal-02278042⟩



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