Perspectives

Space Carbon--Neutral Pathways?

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Science  29 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5292, pp. 1480-1481
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5292.1480

Summary

Complex chemistry takes place in interstellar matter, aided by the energetic photons of ultraviolet radiation that ionize molecules and induce reactions. In their Perspective, Heath and Saykally discuss results published in the same issue by Kaiser et al. (p. 1508) that reveal the importance of neutral species in interstellar chemistry. Such reactions explain the reaction-product branching ratios in such different objects as the TMC-1 molecular cloud and the carbon star IRC+10216.