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How Do Imines Form in Space Clouds?

10 Nov 2020, 17:00 UTC
How Do Imines Form in Space Clouds?
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Editor’s note: Astrobites is a graduate-student-run organization that digests astrophysical literature for undergraduate students. As part of the partnership between the AAS and astrobites, we occasionally repost astrobites content here at AAS Nova. We hope you enjoy this post from astrobites; the original can be viewed at astrobites.org.
Title: Methanimine as a Key Precursor of Imines in the Interstellar Medium: The Case of Propargylimine
Authors: Jacopo Lupi, Cristina Puzzarini, and Vincenzo Barone
First Author’s Institution: Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy
Status: Submitted to ApJ
What Even Is an Imine?
Perhaps one of the biggest questions we can ask is, where does life come from? Many astrochemists seek to answer this question by investigating the history and evolution of molecules that are biologically significant. It turns out imines (pronounced like “I means”) are an important group of molecules that can eventually form DNA. Imines are distinguished by a carbon atom double-bonded to a nitrogen atom, which is then bonded to hydrogen, or “C=NH,” where carbon can be bonded to any other groups of atoms.
Figure 1: Z- and E-propargylimine. The CNH bonds in red are what classify these molecules as imines. Note that the Z- and E- configurations are different molecules. The ...

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