Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Astronomy > The Quantum Secret To Alcohol Reactions In Space

The Quantum Secret To Alcohol Reactions In Space


Image credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin

Image credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin

Chemists have discovered that an ‘impossible’ reaction at cold temperatures actually occurs with vigour, which could change our understanding of how alcohols are formed and destroyed in space.

To explain the impossible, the researchers propose that a quantum mechanical phenomenon, known as ‘quantum tunnelling’, is revving up the chemical reaction. They found that the rate at which the reaction occurs is 50 times greater at minus 210 degrees Celsius than at room temperature.

It’s the harsh environment that makes space-based chemistry so difficult to understand; the extremely cold conditions should put a stop to chemical reactions, as there isn’t sufficient energy to rearrange chemical bonds. It has previously been suggested that dust grains – found in interstellar clouds, for example – could lend a hand in bringing chemical reactions about.

Full Story: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/3412/the_quantum_secret_to_alcohol_reactions_in_space

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