Computational chemists in Spain have discovered that iron in cosmic dust grains helps turn hydrogen atoms into molecular hydrogen (H2).
The average density of the interstellar medium is several billion times less dense than even the best vacuum chambers on Earth. Collisions between hydrogen atoms are therefore rare, and when they do occur, only one out of every 100,000 creates H2. Read the full article in Chemistry World»
Read the original journal article in ChemComm – it’s open access:
Does Fe2+ in olivine-based interstellar grains play any role in the formation of H2? Atomistic insights from DFT periodic simulations
J. Navarro-Ruiz, P. Ugliengo, M. Sodupe and A. Rimola
Chem. Commun., 2016, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C6CC02313D, Communication