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Efficient formation route of the prebiotic molecule formamide on interstellar dust grains

Abstract : Interstellar Complex Organic Molecules are thought to be the building blocks of more complex pre-biotic compounds. In particular, formamide (or methanimide, NH 2 CHO), is presented as a multifunctional pre-biotic precursor, the starting point of both pre-genetic and pre-metabolic species. NH 2 CHO is widely observed in different astrophys-ical media, as well as in comets that may have had a crucial role in the delivery of exogenous material to Earth. In star forming regions, gas phase synthesis of for-mamide is possible, even if it is still debated. In this paper, we present laboratory experiments demonstrating formamide formation in interstellar ice analogues at astronomically relevant temperatures via simultaneous hydrogenation of NO and H 2 CO, two abundant molecules in star-forming regions. Inclusion of the experimental results in an astrochemical gas-grain model confirms the importance of the investigated solid-state reaction channel leading a high yield of formamide in dark interstellar clouds, and adds a valuable perspective about the way this refractory molecule may have been part of the pre-biotic molecular building blocks delivered to the young Earth.
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F. Dulieu, T. Nguyen, E. Congiu, S. Baouche, V. Taquet. Efficient formation route of the prebiotic molecule formamide on interstellar dust grains. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Oxford Journals, 2019, 484 (1), pp.L119-L123. ⟨10.1093/mnrasl/slz013⟩. ⟨hal-02389386⟩

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