Martin Ferus

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The origin of life is a longstanding enigma that fascinates scientists and the general public alike. Scientific efforts have yielded a significant amount of data over the last 100 y following a fundamental cornerstone publication: Proiskhozhozhdenie Zhizny (Origin of Life) by Alexander Ivanovich Oparin (1). Currently, the formamide-based synthesis of(More)
The coincidence of the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) period and the emergence of terrestrial life about 4 billion years ago suggest that extraterrestrial impacts could contribute to the synthesis of the building blocks of the first life-giving molecules. We simulated the high-energy synthesis of nucleobases from formamide during the impact of an(More)
Time-resolved Fourier transform (FT) spectrometry was used to study the dynamics of radical reactions forming the HCN and HNC isomers in pulsed glow discharges through vapors of BrCN, acetonitrile (CH(3)CN), and formamide (HCONH(2)). Stable gaseous products of discharge chemistry were analyzed by selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS). Ratios of(More)
The formamide-based synthesis of nucleic acids is considered as a nonaqueous scenario for the emergence of biomolecules from inorganic matter. In the current study, we scrutinized the chemical composition of formamide ices mixed with an FeNi meteorite material treated with laser-induced dielectric breakdown plasma created in nitrogen buffer gas. These(More)
High-resolution FT-IR spectroscopy combined with quantum chemical calculations was used to study the chemistry of OCS-disproportionation over the reduced surface of isotopically labelled, nanocrystalline TiO2. Analysis of the isotopic composition of the product gases has revealed that the reaction involves solely OCS molecules from the gas-phase. Using(More)
Time-resolved Fourier transform infrared emission spectroscopy was applied to the study of a pulsed discharge in a He/CH(4) mixture. The dynamics of the formation and decay of acetylene ν(3) (3289 cm(-1)), methane ν(3) (3019 cm(-1)) and ν(1) (2917 cm(-1)), the CH radical electronic ground state X(2)Π(r) (2309-2953 cm(-1)), C(2) Bernath electronic transition(More)
Large-scale plasma was created in gas mixtures containing methane using high-power laser-induced dielectric breakdown (LIDB). The composition of the mixtures corresponded to a cometary and/or meteoritic impact into the early atmosphere of either Titan or Earth. A multiple-centimeter-sized fireball was created by focusing a single 100 J, 450 ps near-infrared(More)
The origin of life on Earth is one of the most fascinating questions of contemporary science. Extensive research in the past decades furnished diverse experimental proposals for the emergence of first informational polymers that could form the basis of the early terrestrial life. Side by side with the experiments, the fast development of modern(More)
(18)O-isotope labelled titania (anatase, rutile) was synthesized. The products were characterized by Raman spectra together with their quantum chemical modelling. The interaction with carbon dioxide was investigated using high-resolution FTIR spectroscopy, and the oxygen isotope exchange at the Ti(18)O(2)/C(16)O(2) interface was elucidated.
The Miller-Urey experiments pioneered modern research on the molecular origins of life, but their actual relevance in this field was later questioned because the gas mixture used in their research is considered too reducing with respect to the most accepted hypotheses for the conditions on primordial Earth. In particular, the production of only amino acids(More)