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Importance of thermal reactivity for hexamethylenetetramine formation from simulated interstellar ices

Abstract : Context. Complex organic molecules are observed in a broad variety of astrophysical objects, but little is known about their formation mechanism. Laboratory simulations on interstellar ice analogues are therefore crucial for understanding the origin of these complex organic molecules. In this context, we focus on the thermal reactivity for the formation of the organic residue obtained after photolysis at 25 K of the interstellar ice analogue (H2O:CH3OH:NH3) warmed to 300 K. Aims: We determine the formation mechanism of one major product detected in the organic residue: hexamethylenetetramine (HMT). We compare the warming of the photolysed interstellar ice analogue with the warming of the two non-photolysed specific ice mixtures H2CO:NH3:HCOOH and CH2NH:HCOOH, which are used as references. Using both general and specific approaches, we show the precise role of the UV photons and the thermal processing in the HMT formation. Methods: We used Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to monitor the chemical changes induced by the heating of the photolysed ice analogue and characterize some important species that will subsequently evolve in the formation of HMT in the residue. Results: We show that the thermal processes play a key role in the HMT formation in photolysed ice analogues heated at 300 K. We identify the stable intermediates in the HMT formation that are formed during the warming: the aminomethanol (NH2CH2OH) and the protonated ion trimethyletriamine (TMTH+, C3H10N3+). We also identify for the first time a new product in the organic residue, the polymethylenimine PMI (-(CH2 -NH)n). Results from this study will be interesting for the analysis of the forthcoming Rosetta mission.
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Contributor : Christine Hadrossek <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 4:46:43 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 5:40:03 PM

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V. Vinogradoff, N. Fray, F. Duvernay, G. Briani, G. Danger, et al.. Importance of thermal reactivity for hexamethylenetetramine formation from simulated interstellar ices. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2013, 551, pp.128. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201220870⟩. ⟨in2p3-00824994⟩



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