Discarded the presence of pure ice of amorphous carbon dioxide in space

08-05-2013

A study by CSIC and INTA identifies a spectral band not detected in space observations in the laboratory. The results have been published in the journal 'PNAS'.

A study carried out by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) has identified of laboratory a new spectral band of pure and amorphous carbon dioxide ice (CO 2 ), which has received the name of Band X. According to this work, published in the journal PNAS, in a first stage of the crystallization process the molecules of CO 2 are disordered and form a layer of pure amorphous ice. So far, the X-band has not been detected during space observations, which has led researchers to rule out the existence of pure ice of amorphous CO 2 in space. & Nbsp;

Carbon dioxide is one of the most abundant elements in the Universe. Dry ice, as its frozen form is known, is present in many celestial bodies of the Solar System, as well as in interstellar dust, which makes it an indicator of the thermal history of the evolution of young stars. & Nbsp; / p>

"The formation of ice in interstellar space is a process of which many aspects are still unknown. Most of the information we have comes from spectroscopic observations that analyze the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and matter. In these measurements the X-band that we have identified in this study does not appear, so we deduce that in space carbon dioxide can only exist as crystalline ice, in which the molecules form an ordered pattern, or be mixed with other species ", Explains the researcher of the CSIC Rafael Escribano, of the Institute of Structure of the Matter.

Experiments in ultra high vacuum

This work has combined techniques of spectroscopic analysis, theoretical models and the formation in the laboratory of ultrafine ice, only a few molecules thick.

Most of the experiments were conducted in an ultra high vacuum system at temperatures close to absolute zero, which tried to mimic the vacuum interstellar. "To study the formation of ice, the molecules of CO 2 were added little by little, so that very thin films were formed. In this process, we observed that before the creation of ordered crystals, another stage took place, identified by means of the X-band, in which the carbon dioxide had an amorphous structure, "adds researcher Guillermo M. Muñoz Caro, from the Centro de Astrobiology, mixed center of the CSIC and the INTA.

According to the researchers, this new evidence on the state of the ice in other regions of our galaxy is an important finding, since it is rare to gather information about objects so distant because of the limitations associated with its observation.

Additional information

Scientific article: Rafael M. Escribano, Guillermo M. Muñoz Caro, Gustavo A Cruz-Diaz, Yamilet Rodríguez-Lazcano, Belén Maté. Crystallization of CO 2 ice and the absence of amorphous CO 2 ice in space. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.1222228110.

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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