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Interstellar water ice is mainly amorphous, but the nature of its morphology still
remains poorly known. The experimental study described in this work focuses on how
relevant changes of the ice morphology result from atomic hydrogen exposure and subsequent
recombination. We show that there is an exponential decrease in the porosity of the
amorphous water ice sample following hydrogen-atom irradiation. These and other laboratory
results lead us to suggest that water ice in space is almost certainly amorphous and
We explore experimentally the formation of water molecules from O2 and D atoms
on bare grains composed of amorphous silicates analogous to those in diffuse interstellar
clouds. We provide the fractions of D2O and D2O2
molecules formed on the silicate surface held at 10 K from the O2 + D pathway
using RAIRS and TPD techniques. For comparison, we also study the formation of water
molecules on surfaces covered with amorphous water ice representing the dense clouds.
We present a combined theoretical and experimental study of the adsorption of two pairs
of organic isomers, (i) acetic acid AA (CH3COOH) and methyl
formate MF (HCOOCH3), and (ii) ethanol EtOH
(CH3CH2OH) and dimethyl ether DME (CH3OCH3),
onto crystalline water ice surfaces at low temperatures. Both approaches show that, for
each pair, the most stable isomer from a thermodynamical point of view,
i.e. AA and EtOH, is
also the one which is the more tightly bound to the water ice surface compared to the less
stable isomers (MF and DME). This finding, which can be explained by the ability of AA or
EtOH to efficiently interact with the ice surface via hydrogen bondings, may have
important consequences in an astrophysical context, since it could explain why the most
stable isomer is not the most abundant observed in the interstellar gas phase.
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