The Formation of Glycine in The Interstellar Medium

Faculty Sponsor

Haiying He


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 2021


In this project, I intend to study the formation of glycine in the Interstellar Medium (ISM) through computer simulations. I will calculate the energy required to break the bonds of the stable reactants, to form intermediates, and to produce the final product glycine using the quantum chemistry program Gaussian 09. Since ultraviolet (UV) radiation is largely available in the ISM, I will evaluate the possibility of using UV radiation to form glycine through radicals by comparing the energies needed to break the bonds and to form intermediates to the average energy of UV rays found in the ISM. The average UV radiation in the ISM is between 1500 Å and 1600 Å, or 8.2656 eV and 7.49 eV respectively. The reactants that I will focus on are H2O, HCN, and CO2, which are detected in the ISM. In addition, H2O may possibly act as a catalyst to lower the overall energy required. I plan on testing the reactions to form glycine in three different scenarios: in the gas phase, reactants inside bulk ice, and on the ice surface. In this way, the effect of H2O in catalyzing these reactions can be studied.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

I am a senior pursuing a bachelor's in Astronomy at Valparaiso University. I am hoping to enter a field in research. I became interested in this topic because I wanted to learn more about the field of astrochemistry and the plausibility of forming Glycine in this medium. In the future, I would like to look more into this question and field.

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