BibTex format

author = {Court, RW and Sephton, MA},
doi = {10.1017/S1473550411000383},
journal = {International Journal of Astrobiology},
pages = {83--92},
title = {Insights into the nature of cometary organic matter from terrestrial analogues},
url = {},
volume = {11},
year = {2012}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The nature of cometary organic matter is of great interest to investigations involving the formation and distribution of organic matter relevant to the origin of life. We have used pyrolysis–Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to investigate the chemical effects of the irradiation of naturally occurring bitumens, and to relate their products of pyrolysis to their parent assemblages. The information acquired has then been applied to the complex organic matter present in cometary nuclei and comae. Amalgamating the FTIR data presented here with data from published studies enables the inference of other comprehensive trends within hydrocarbon mixtures as they are progressively irradiated in a cometary environment, namely the polymerization of lower molecular weight compounds; an increased abundance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon structures; enrichment in 13C; reduction in atomic H/C ratio; elevation of atomic O/C ratio and increase in the temperature required for thermal degradation. The dark carbonaceous surface of a cometary nucleus will display extreme levels of these features, relative to the nucleus interior, while material in the coma will reflect the degree of irradiation experienced by its source location in the nucleus. Cometary comae with high methane/water ratios indicate a nucleus enriched in methane, favouring the formation of complex organic matter via radiation-induced polymerization of simple precursors. In contrast, production of complex organic matter is hindered in a nucleus possessing a low methane/water ration, with the complex organic matter that does form possessing more oxygen-containing species, such as alcohol, carbonyl and carboxylic acid functional groups, resulting from reactions with hydroxyl radicals formed by the radiolysis of the more abundant water. These insights into the properties of complex cometary organic matter should be of particular interest to both remote observation and space missions involving in situ an
AU - Court,RW
AU - Sephton,MA
DO - 10.1017/S1473550411000383
EP - 92
PY - 2012///
SN - 1473-5504
SP - 83
TI - Insights into the nature of cometary organic matter from terrestrial analogues
T2 - International Journal of Astrobiology
UR -
UR -
VL - 11
ER -