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Open AccessReview

Astrochemistry and Astrobiology: Materials Science in Wonderland?

1
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, Complesso Universitario di Monte S. Angelo, Via Cupa Nuova Cinthia 21, 80126 Naples, Italy
2
Department of Biology, University of Naples “Federico II”, Complesso Universitario di Monte S. Angelo, Via Cupa Nuova Cinthia 21, 80126 Naples, Italy
3
Institute of Biosciences and BioResources, National Research Council of Italy, Via P. Castellino 111, 80131 Naples, Italy
4
Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
5
Institut National de la Santé et de la RechercheMédicale, 11 rue Humann, 67085 Strasbourg Cedex, France
6
Faculté de Chirurgie Dentaire, Université de Strasbourg, 1 Place de l’Hôpital, 67000 Strasbourg, France
7
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Manufacturing, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia
8
Department of Chemistry “Giacomo Ciamician”, University of Bologna, Via F. Selmi 2, I-40126 Bologna, Italy
9
Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, I-56126 Pisa, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(17), 4079; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20174079
Received: 29 July 2019 / Revised: 14 August 2019 / Accepted: 19 August 2019 / Published: 21 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Materials Science)
Astrochemistry and astrobiology, the fascinating disciplines that strive to unravel the origin of life, have opened unprecedented and unpredicted vistas into exotic compounds as well as extreme or complex reaction conditions of potential relevance for a broad variety of applications. Representative, and so far little explored sources of inspiration include complex organic systems, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their derivatives; hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and formamide (HCONH2) oligomers and polymers, like aminomalononitrile (AMN)-derived species; and exotic processes, such as solid-state photoreactions on mineral surfaces, phosphorylation by minerals, cold ice irradiation and proton bombardment, and thermal transformations in fumaroles. In addition, meteorites and minerals like forsterite, which dominate dust chemistry in the interstellar medium, may open new avenues for the discovery of innovative catalytic processes and unconventional methodologies. The aim of this review was to offer concise and inspiring, rather than comprehensive, examples of astrochemistry-related materials and systems that may be of relevance in areas such as surface functionalization, nanostructures, and hybrid material design, and for innovative technological solutions. The potential of computational methods to predict new properties from spectroscopic data and to assess plausible reaction pathways on both kinetic and thermodynamic grounds has also been highlighted. View Full-Text
Keywords: prebiotic processes; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; aminomalononitrile; formamide; volcanic fumaroles; computational methods; solid-state photochemistry; surface functionalization; nanostructures; hybrid functional materials prebiotic processes; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; aminomalononitrile; formamide; volcanic fumaroles; computational methods; solid-state photochemistry; surface functionalization; nanostructures; hybrid functional materials
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d’Ischia, M.; Manini, P.; Moracci, M.; Saladino, R.; Ball, V.; Thissen, H.; Evans, R.A.; Puzzarini, C.; Barone, V. Astrochemistry and Astrobiology: Materials Science in Wonderland? Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 4079.

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