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J Phys Chem A. 2011 Jan 27;115(3):250-64. doi: 10.1021/jp103028v. Epub 2010 Dec 17.

On the interaction of methyl azide (CH3N3) ices with ionizing radiation: formation of methanimine (CH2NH), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), and hydrogen isocyanide (HNC).

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California 93106, United States.


Methyl azide (CH(3)N(3)) might be a potential precursor in the synthesis of prebiotic molecules via nonequilibrium reactions on interstellar ices initiated by energetic galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and photons. Here, we investigate the effects of energetic electrons as formed in the track of cosmic ray particles and 193 nm photons with solid methyl azide at 10 K and the inherent formation of methanimine (CH(2)NH), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), and hydrogen isocyanide (HNC). We present a systematic kinetic study and outline feasible reaction pathways to these molecules. These processes might be also important in solar system analogue ices.

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