Supernova Condensate is a blog about our place in the Universe. Of astronomy, chemistry and life in the big bad bubble of academia.
Invader Xan is a molecular astrophysicist and part-time alien invader, who spends life looking at very small things on very large scales, and trying to better understand the chemistry of interstellar space.
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Tag Archives: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
The question of precisely what happens as stars and planets condense from vast clouds of gas is still very much an unanswered one. We have some good ideas of how things work, but really it’s difficult to be certain. Newly … Continue reading
I’m of the personal opinion that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules, often known as PAHs, are one of the finest proofs that the Universe is beautiful. Carbon, at the molecular level, organises itself into geometrically perfect hexagons. It doesn’t even need … Continue reading
This rather pretty and slightly fractalicious image is a micrograph of some naphthalene crystals, taken in polarised light. Naphthalene is an aromatic hydrocarbon, with two rings fused together (not polycyclic, just bicyclic). Interestingly, the crystal in the image looks a … Continue reading
Every now and again, I discover something so utterly cool that I just can’t not write about it. This is 9,10-dithioanthracene. It’s a substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. And it can walk. I promise I’m not making this up. Well, in … Continue reading
Well it’s not often you get told about a symposium that’s 100% relevant to your research interests! I’m posting this almost entirely to remind myself to look into it. Seriously, I’d love to go along. Even if it means grovelling … Continue reading
Using techniques pioneered by IBM Research Zurich, this is the first ever AFM image of a single molecule. The most detailed single image of a pentacene molecule you’ll ever see, in fact. Seriously, I’m amazed. I had no idea atomic … Continue reading
Silabenzene is one of those chemical curiosities. With little use except to theoretical organic chemists, it’s a benzene molecule with one carbon atom replaced by a silicon “pendant” atom. A heterocyclic aromatic. For a long time it was believed to … Continue reading
When I saw this paper’s title I was intrigued. When I realised what this paper was actually about, I was genuinely enthralled! A couple of months ago, I was wondering whether it would be possible to take a gamma ray … Continue reading
As many an astrochemist will tell you without hesitation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are important molecules to study, because they’re directly relevant to the origins of life. We tend to repeat this like a mantra, and perhaps we don’t always fully … Continue reading
Ah, the humble proton. Simple, stable, and able to drastically affect the chemistry of other molecules — and nowhere more so than in the Interstellar Medium (ISM). H2 molecules, for instance are readily protonated in dense interstellar clouds, forming H3+, … Continue reading