Vol 23, No 5

Catalytic Role of H i in the Interstellar Synthesis of Complex Organic Molecule

Shuming Yang, Peng Xie, Enwei Liang and Zhao Wang


Using quantum chemical calculations, we model the pathways for synthesizing two purine nucleobases, adenine and guanine, in the gas-phase interstellar environment, surrounded by neutral atomic hydrogen (H i). H i is found active in facilitating a series of fundamental proton transfer processes of organic synthesis, including bond formation, cyclization, dehydrogenation, and H migration. The reactive potential barriers were significantly reduced in the alternative pathways created by H i, leading to a remarkable increase in the reaction rate. The presence of H i also lowered the reactive activation temperature from 757.8 K to 131.5–147.0 K, indicating the thermodynamic feasibility of these pathways in star-forming regions where some of the reactants have been astronomically detected. Our findings suggest that H i may serve as an effective catalyst for interstellar organic synthesis.


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