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Using ruthenium, a metal that is active in the presence of visible light, as a catalyst, Zhu produced an unexpected and unstable organic molecule.
Since they are widely distributed in interstellar space, they might have played a key role in the production of many of the organic molecules present at the time of the formation of the Solar System.
When that radiation passes through the dust in a molecular cloud or surrounding a dying star in the Milky Way, organic molecules absorb some of the emissions and release that radiation at different wavelengths.
The research group found that a variety of small organic molecules were produced in icy films subjected to LEEs.
In addition, scientists expect Bennu to hold vital clues to the origin of water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth, eventually creating conditions needed for life to arise.
Experts believe comets and asteroids from the outer solar system seeded the young Earth with water and organic molecules to set the stage for life to evolve.
Scientists have long theorized that life on Earth might owe something to the arrival of organic molecules and water on comets striking our planet.
These findings, led by Sandra Pizzarello, a research professor in ASU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, suggest a far greater availability of extraterrestrial organic molecules than previously thought possible, an inventory that could indeed have been important in molecular evolution and life itself.
Buried quickly and isolated from the water above by layers of fine-grained sediment, their porous skeletons gradually filled with minerals, but some of the pores containing organic molecules were sealed intact.
Lead researcher Stacey Bent and her team coated a titanium dioxide semiconductor in their quantum dot solar cell with a single layer of organic molecules less than a nanometer thick, which tripled the cell's efficiency.
The third edition of this synthetic organic chemistry textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students has been expanded to include new information on transition metals such as novel reactions, new catalysts, ligands, reaction conditions and the applications in synthesis of complex organic molecules.
Yet, the process or processes by which non-living organic molecules turn into life are still unknown to science.