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Ice and Surface Chemistry in Space

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Ultra-high vacuum surface science methodologies are ideally suited to studying the interaction of molecules with model astrophysical grain surfaces. Dust grains are found in a number of environments in space, including comets, planetary atmospheres and in the interstellar medium (the ISM , the space between the stars). Dust grains comprise carbonaceous and silicaceous material and, at the low temperatures in space (20-30 K), are usually covered in multi-component molecular ices. These ices are typically dominated by water and simple alcohols, such as methanol, but also contain a broad spectrum of organic species such as esters, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and nitriles, to name but a few. This talk will describe some of the work that has been done in our group to investigate the adsorption, reaction and processing of astrophysically relevant ices. The physical chemistry data that we obtain can be used to give information about grain-surface processes that are relevant to star and planet formation.

This talk is part of the Physical Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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