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J Mol Struct. 1987 Mar;157(1-3):255-73.

Interstellar problems and matrix solutions.

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NASA/Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.


The application of the matrix isolation technique, which is but one of the experimental techniques pioneered in George Pimentel's laboratories, to interstellar problems is described. Following a brief discussion of the interstellar medium (ISM) three areas are reviewed in which matrix experiments are particularly well-suited to contribute the information which is sorely needed to further our understanding of the ISM. The first involves the measurement of the spectroscopic properties of reactive species. The second is the determination of reaction rates and the elucidation of reaction pathways involving atoms, radicals and ions which are likely to interact on grain surfaces and in grain mantles. The third entails the determination of the spectroscopic, photochemical and photophysical properties of interstellar and cometary ice analogs. Significant, but limited, progress has been made in these three areas and a tremendous amount of work is required to fully address the variety of unique chemical and spectroscopic questions posed by the astronomical observations.

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