Quantum Chemistry on Interstellar Grains

Project Details


Cosmic dust makes up a very small portion of the interstellar (IS) medium, yet it plays a very big role in the evolution of our universe. The sticky tar-like surfaces of dust grains are like tiny chemical factories, bringing together atoms that might otherwise not meet and catalysing reactions. Given their critical role in the molecular diversity of the universe, scientists have studied the chemical reactions on the surface of IS dust grains with astrophysical spectroscopy, lab experiments and mathematical models. The EU-funded QUANTUMGRAIN project plans to shed new light on dust grain chemistry, overcoming the limitations of current methodologies by exploiting state-of-the-art quantum chemistry simulations. Outcomes will answer important questions about the types of reactions favoured and why, and the role of the IS dust grain surface in facilitating them. Ultimately, simulations could elucidate a molecular description of the reactions themselves.
Effective start/end date1/09/2031/12/25


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