© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Mineral surfaces have been demonstrated to play a central role in prebiotic reactions, which are understood to be at the basis of the origin of life. Among the various molecules proposed as precursors for these reactions, one of the most interesting is formamide. Formamide has been shown to be a pluripotent molecule, generating a wide distribution of relevant prebiotic products. In particular, the outcomes of its reactivity are strongly related to the presence of mineral phases acting as catalysts toward specific reaction pathways. While the mineral–products relationship has been deeply studied for a large pool of materials, the fundamental description of formamide reactivity over mineral surfaces at a microscopic level is missing in the literature. In particular, a key step of formamide chemistry at surfaces is adsorption on available interaction sites. This report aims to investigate the adsorption of formamide over a well-defined amorphous silica, chosen as a model mineral surface. An experimental IR investigation of formamide adsorption was carried out and its outcomes were interpreted on the basis of first principles simulation of the process, adopting a realistic model of amorphous silica.
- IR spectroscopy