New center article - Sergio Ioppolo
Title: Infrared Spectral Signatures of Nucleobases in Interstellar Ices I: Purines
The purine nucleobases adenine and guanine are complex organic molecules that are essential for life. Despite their ubiquitous presence on Earth, purines have yet to be detected in observations of astronomical environments. This work study the infrared spectra of purines linked to terrestrial biochemical processes under conditions analogous to those found in the interstellar medium. The infrared spectra of adenine and guanine, both in pure form and embedded within an interstellar ice analog made of H2O:NH3:CH4:CO:CH3OH (10:1:1:1:1), were analysed with the aim of determining which bands attributable to adenine and/or guanine can be observed in the infrared spectrum of an astrophysical ice. We have identified three purine nucleobase infrared absorption bands that do not overlap with bands attributable to the volatiles that are ubiquitous in the dense interstellar medium. These three bands, which are located at 1255, 940, and 878 cm−1 (red arrows in the Figure), should be readily observable in astronomical targets.