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Are there organic grains in the interstellar medium?

Naturevolume 277pages4041 (1979) | Download Citation



THE possibility that organic compounds exist in or on interstellar grains has received much attention recently. It has been suggested that grains consist of polysaccharides1, carbonaceous compounds2 or aggregates of a variety of organic compounds3. While it is easy to visualise how some of these materials could form in the interstellar medium (for example, by the random accretion of C, N, O and H) it is not certain that appreciable quantities of such grains actually exist. With the availability of high quality infrared (IR) spectra of a variety of sources we show here how to determine the fraction of interstellar carbon bound in complex molecules of this sort.

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  1. Physics Department, York University, Toronto, Canada

    • W. W. DULEY
  2. Mathematics Department, UMIST, Manchester, UK

    • D. A. WILLIAMS


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