A summary of experimental results on molecular hydrogen formation on dust grain analogues

Gianfranco Vidali, J. E. Roser, G. Manicó, V. Pirronello

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2 Scopus citations


We review the main laboratory results of investigations of processes of molecular hydrogen formation on surfaces. The problem of the formation of molecular hydrogen is a fundamental issue in astrophysics/astrochemistry, because of the great importance that molecular hydrogen has for the structure and evolution of our Universe. Such experiments are done using ultra-high vacuum, low temperature, and atomic/molecular beam techniques to study the formation of molecular hydrogen on dust grain analogues in conditions as close as technically feasible to the ones present in relevant ISM environments. In experiments conducted at Syracuse University, we studied H2 formation on the three most ISM-relevant classes of surfaces: silicates, carbonaceous materials and amorphous water ice. Our experimental investigations range from the evaluation of the catalytic efficiency of the studied surfaces to the energetics of the reaction, i.e. the partition of the formation energy between the grain and the nascent molecule. Such measurements have been done by changing various parameters such as: the temperature of the interstellar dust analogue, the kinetic temperature of the atoms, the morphology of the surface and, to be completed soon, the composition of the solid. Quantitative and qualitative information on the processes of H2 formation is then fed in theoretical models to extract results that pertain to desired ISM environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-364
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS231
StatePublished - 2005


  • Astrochemistry
  • Dust
  • ISM: molecules
  • Methods: laboratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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