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Importance of Surface Morphology in Interstellar H2 Formation

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Science  12 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5652, pp. 1943-1946
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090820

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Abstract

Detailed laboratory experiments on the formation of HD from atom recombination on amorphous solid water films show that this process is extremely efficient in a temperature range of 8 to 20 kelvin, temperatures relevant for H2 formation on dust grain surfaces in the interstellar medium (ISM). The fate of the 4.5 electron volt recombination energy is highly dependent on film morphology. These results suggest that grain morphology, rather than the detailed chemical nature of the grain surface, is most important in determining the energy content of the H2 as it is released from the grain into the ISM.

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