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  1. Oxirene was prepared and stabilized in matrices through resonant energy transfer prior to identification in the gas phase. 
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  2. Although methanediamine (CH 2 (NH 2 ) 2 ) has historically been the subject of theoretical scrutiny, it has never been isolated to date. Here, we report the preparation of methanediamine (CH 2 (NH 2 ) 2 )—the simplest diamine. Low-temperature interstellar analog ices composed of ammonia and methylamine were exposed to energetic electrons which act as proxies for secondary electrons produced in the track of galactic cosmic rays. These experimental conditions, which simulate the conditions within cold molecular clouds, result in radical formation and initiate aminomethyl (ĊH 2 NH 2 ) and amino ( N . H 2 ) radical chemistry. Exploiting tunable photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReToF-MS) to make isomer-specific assignments, methanediamine was identified in the gas phase upon sublimation, while its isomer methylhydrazine (CH 3 NHNH 2 ) was not observed. The molecular formula was confirmed to be CH 6 N 2 through the use of isotopically labeled reactants. Methanediamine is the simplest molecule to contain the NCN moiety and could be a vital intermediate in the abiotic formation of heterocyclic and aromatic systems such as nucleobases, which all contain the NCN moiety. 
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  3. We unravel, for the very first time, the formation pathways of hydroxyacetone (CH 3 COCH 2 OH), methyl acetate (CH 3 COOCH 3 ), and 3-hydroxypropanal (HCOCH 2 CH 2 OH), as well as their enol tautomers within mixed ices of methanol (CH 3 OH) and acetaldehyde (CH 3 CHO) analogous to interstellar ices in the ISM exposed to ionizing radiation at ultralow temperatures of 5 K. Exploiting photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReToF-MS) and isotopically labeled ices, the reaction products were selectively photoionized allowing for isomer discrimination during the temperature-programmed desorption phase. Based on the distinct mass-to-charge ratios and ionization energies of the identified species, we reveal the formation pathways of hydroxyacetone (CH 3 COCH 2 OH), methyl acetate (CH 3 COOCH 3 ), and 3-hydroxypropanal (HCOCH 2 CH 2 OH) via radical–radical recombination reactions and of their enol tautomers (prop-1-ene-1,2-diol (CH 3 C(OH)CHOH), prop-2-ene-1,2-diol (CH 2 C(OH)CH 2 OH), 1-methoxyethen-1-ol (CH 3 OC(OH)CH 2 ) and prop-1-ene-1,3-diol (HOCH 2 CHCHOH)) via keto-enol tautomerization. To the best of our knowledge, 1-methoxyethen-1-ol (CH 3 OC(OH)CH 2 ) and prop-1-ene-1,3-diol (HOCH 2 CHCHOH) are experimentally identified for the first time. Our findings help to constrain the formation mechanism of hydroxyacetone and methyl acetate detected within star-forming regions and suggest that the hitherto astronomically unobserved isomer 3-hydroxypropanal and its enol tautomers represent promising candidates for future astronomical searches. These enol tautomers may contribute to the molecular synthesis of biologically relevant molecules in deep space due to their nucleophilic character and high reactivity. 
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  4. The Zn+(methanol) ion molecule complex produced by laser vaporization is studied with photofragment imaging at 280 and 266 nm. Photodissociation produces the methanol cation CH3OH+ via excitation of a charge-transfer excited state. Surprisingly, excitation of bound excited states produces the same fragment via a curve crossing prior to separation of products. Significant kinetic energy release is detected at both wavelengths with isotropic angular distributions. Similar experiments are conducted on the perdeuterated methanol complex. The Zn+ cation is a minor product channel that also exhibits significant kinetic energy release. An energetic cycle using the ionization energies of zinc and methanol together with the kinetic energy release produces an upper limit on the Zn+-methanol bond energy of 33.7 ± 4.2 kcal/mol (1.46 ± 0.18 eV).

     
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  5. Abstract

    The formation of complex organic molecules by simulated secondary electrons generated in the track of galactic cosmic rays was investigated in interstellar ice analogs composed of methanol and carbon dioxide. The processed ices were subjected to temperature-programmed desorption to mimic the transition of a cold molecular cloud to a warmer star-forming region. Reaction products were detected as they sublime using photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry. By employing isotopic labeling, tunable photoionization and computed adiabatic ionization energies isomers of C2H4O3were investigated. Product molecules carbonic acid monomethyl ester (CH3OCOOH) and glycolic acid (HOCH2COOH) were identified. The abundance of the reactants detected in analog interstellar ices and the low irradiation dose necessary to form these products indicates that these molecules are exemplary candidates for interstellar detection. Molecules sharing a tautomeric relationship with glycolic acid, dihydroxyacetaldehyde ((OH)2CCHO), and the enol ethenetriol (HOCHC(OH)2), were not found to form despite ices being subjected to conditions that have successfully produced tautomerization in other ice analog systems.

     
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  6. For more than half a century, pericyclic reactions have played an important role in advancing our fundamental understanding of cycloadditions, sigmatropic shifts, group transfer reactions, and electrocyclization reactions. However, the fundamental mechanisms of photochemically activated cheletropic reactions have remained contentious. Here we report on the simplest cheletropic reaction: the [2+1] addition of ground state 18 O-carbon monoxide (C 18 O, X 1 Σ + ) to D2-acetylene (C 2 D 2 ) photochemically excited to the first excited triplet (T1), second excited triplet (T2), and first excited singlet state (S1) at 5 K, leading to the formation of D2- 18 O-cyclopropenone (c-C 3 D 2 18 O). Supported by quantum-chemical calculations, our investigation provides persuasive testimony on stepwise cheletropic reaction pathways to cyclopropenone via excited state dynamics involving the T2 (non-adiabatic) and S1 state (adiabatic) of acetylene at 5 K, while the T1 state energetically favors an intermediate structure that directly dissociates after relaxing to the ground state. The agreement between experiments in low temperature ices and the excited state calculations signifies how photolysis experiments coupled with theoretical calculations can untangle polyatomic reactions with relevance to fundamental physical organic chemistry at the molecular level, thus affording a versatile strategy to unravel exotic non-equilibrium chemistries in cyclic, aromatic organics. Distinct from traditional radical–radical pathways leading to organic molecules on ice-coated interstellar nanoparticles (interstellar grains) in cold molecular clouds and star-forming regions, the photolytic formation of cyclopropenone as presented changes the perception of how we explain the formation of complex organics in the interstellar medium eventually leading to the molecular precursors of biorelevant molecules. 
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  7. null (Ed.)