Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Samer Gozem

Second Advisor

Dr. Donald Hamelberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Grant


Investigating the elusive relationship between our interstellar medium and its assortment of complex organic molecules (COMs) allows us to explore possible precursors to the building blocks of life. A wealth of COMs including aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, and esters have been detected in a giant molecular cloud almost 26,000 light-years away from Earth named Sagittarius B2. This includes exotic COMs that must have been formed from non-equilibrium reactions. Spectroscopic studies by Kaiser and coworkers1 investigated the formation and abundances of C3H2O isomers from carbon monoxide and acetylene in reaction conditions similar to those on interstellar ice grain surfaces found within Sagittarius. Following recent computational and experimental efforts2, the excited state chemistry for the formation of C3H2O compounds is explored in more depth. In this contribution, we will simulate photoelectron spectra and provide molecular-level insight into the formation of these isomers on the basis of ground and excited state quantum mechanical calculations.


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