Floating patches of HCN at the surface of their aqueous solutions - Can they make "hCN World" plausible?

Balázs Fábián, Milán Szöri, Pál Jedlovszky

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The liquid/vapor interface of the aqueous solutions of HCN of different concentrations has been investigated using molecular dynamics simulation and intrinsic surface analysis. Although HCN is fully miscible with water, strong interfacial adsorption of HCN is observed at the surface of its aqueous solutions, and, at the liquid surface, the HCN molecules tend to be located even at the outer edge of the surface layer. It turns out that in dilute systems the HCN concentration can be about an order of magnitude larger in the surface layer than in the bulk liquid phase. Furthermore, HCN molecules show a strong lateral self-association behavior at the liquid surface, forming thus floating HCN patches at the surface of their aqueous solutions. Moreover, HCN molecules are staying, on average, an order of magnitude longer at the liquid surface than water molecules, and this behavior is more pronounced at smaller HCN concentrations. Because of this enhanced dynamical stability, the floating HCN patches can provide excellent spots for polymerization of HCN, which can be the key step in the prebiotic synthesis of partially water-soluble adenine. All of these findings make the hypothesis of "HCN world" more plausible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21469-21482
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - Sep 18 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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