4 years ago

Miller–Urey Spark-Discharge Experiments in the Deuterium World

Miller–Urey Spark-Discharge Experiments in the Deuterium World
Geoffrey J. T. Cooper, Andrew J. Surman, Jim McIver, Piotr S. Gromski, Saskia Buchwald, Irene Suárez Marina, Stephanie M. Colón-Santos, Leroy Cronin
We designed and conducted a series of primordial-soup Miller-Urey style experiments with deuterated gases and reagents to compare the spark-discharge products of a “deuterated world” with the standard reaction in the “hydrogenated world”. While the deuteration of the system has little effect on the distribution of amino acid products, significant differences are seen in other regions of the product-space. Not only do we observe about 120 new species, we also see significant differences in their distribution if the two hydrogen isotope worlds are compared. Several isotopologue matches can be identified in both, but a large proportion of products have no equivalent in the corresponding isotope world with ca. 43 new species in the D world and ca. 39 new species in the H world. This shows that isotopic exchange (the addition of only one neutron) may lead to significant additional complexity in chemical space under otherwise identical reaction conditions. Spark discharge in a deuterium world: Repeating the iconic Miller–Urey experiment in a fully deuterated environment produces a different product distribution to that found in the non-deuterated control, giving insights into how isotopic enrichment and processing may lead to significant additional complexity in chemical space under chemically identical reaction conditions.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201610837

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