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A Photoionization Reflectron Time-of-Flight Investigation of Phosphorus Chemistry in Extraterrestrial Ices.

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Title:A Photoionization Reflectron Time-of-Flight Investigation of Phosphorus Chemistry in Extraterrestrial Ices.
Authors:Turner, Andrew M.
Contributors:Chemistry (department)
Date Issued:May 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Multiple phosphorus-containing compounds have been detected in the Solar System (planetary atmospheres, comets, meteorites) along with interstellar and circumstellar environments. Of particular astrobiological interest are alkyl phosphonic acids (RH2PO3, R = methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl) extracted from the Murchison meteorite. These phosphonic acids are the only extraterrestrial phosphorus-containing organic compounds thus far discovered and offer a bioavailable and highly soluble form of phosphorus due to its reduced oxidation state. The research of this dissertation investigates the synthesis of phosphorus-containing products of electron-irradiated interstellar ice analogues containing phosphine (PH3), water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and hydrocarbons such as methane (CH4). Phosphine is known to exist in circumstellar envelopes (IRC +10216), is hypothesized to exist in comets (67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko), and may serve as the phosphorus source of complex organic compounds such as the alkyl phosphonic acids. Utilizing in situ analysis techniques such as quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS), tunable-photoionization reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReTOF-MS), and infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in addition to ex situ analysis by secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and two-dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOF-MS), the intermediates and products of these irradiated ice analogues are characterized to demonstrate the potential to synthesize organic phosphine-containing molecules in astrophysical environments. Notable results include phosphanes (PxHx+2), methylphosphanes (CH3PxHx+1), and phosphorus oxoacids (H3POx, x=1−4, and pyrophosphoric acid (H4P2O7)) along with their alkylated equivalents such as prebiotically significant methylphosphonic acid (CH3P(O)(OH)2) and methylphosphate (CH3OP(O)(OH)2).
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Chemistry

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