The first chemical reaction product in the universe has been found by scientists!

If someone asks: The product of the first chemical reaction in the universe is What?

I believe even a genius in chemistry cannot answer it.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t answer.

For a long time, even scientists did not know where the product was hidden in the universe.

But after all, it is the first chemical product in the universe, and scientists are very interested in it.

As a result, astronomers have spent decades looking for it in the vast universe. Until recently, they finally got it.

On April 17, 2019, a research team published a paper in Nature announcing that they had detected Helium hydride ion (HeH+) in planetary nebula NGC 7027[1].

This is the first time people have detected this ion in the modern universe, and it is the product of the first chemical reaction in the real universe.

Numerous new chemical elements have emerged after the Big Bang. We want to know what is the first chemical product
Numerous new chemical elements have emerged after the Big Bang. We want to know what is the first chemical product

How was HeH+ born?

Before explaining what scientists have done, we will take a little time to go back to the early days of the universe and see what happened to the first chemical reaction in the universe.

About 380,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe experienced a high temperature and dense state, and began to cool down with expansion. At this time, the temperature has dropped below 4,000 Kelvin.

At this time, the ions of light elements (at that time only hydrogen, helium and very little lithium) produced during the Bigbang nucleo synthesis period began to recombine.

Helium ions (He2+ and He+) first combine with free electrons to form the earliest neutral atom in the universe.

The recombination of hydrogen elements also occurred later.

Although the chemistry textbook tells us that helium is an inert gas, it is difficult for chemical reactions to occur under normal temperature and pressure in Earth 2050: The Future of Energy today.

However, in the high temperature and dense environment of inside in the early stage of the universe, the situation is completely different. Neutral helium atoms will combine with protons to form Helium hydride ion-this is the first chemical reaction in the universe, and the product contains the earliest chemical bonds in the universe.

The process of chemical reaction in which hν is the energy of photons.
The process of chemical reaction in which hν is the energy of photons.
The structural diagram of HeH+ shows protons on the left, helium atoms on the right, and chemical bonds in the middle.  Source: Wikimedia Commons
The structural diagram of HeH+ shows protons on the left, helium atoms on the right, and chemical bonds in the middle. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The dawn of chemistry came like this.

Helium hydride ion then interacts with hydrogen atoms to form hydrogen molecules.

Hydrogen molecules were the basis for the formation of the original Stellar.

Stellar, like the “element factory”, has made all the elements that make up today’s universe.

MG of these elements then created life, so we have the opportunity to discuss this issue here.

HeH+ may be there, but we can’t see it

Although Helium hydride ion played a very important role in the evolution of the early universe, astronomers have never detected its existence in interstellar space.

Therefore, it is impossible to prove this crucial first step in the birth of chemistry.

The reason for this is that the space telescope they use cannot recognize Helium hydride ion’s signals from the mixed signals from other molecules.

As Corresponding author of this paper and Rolf Güsten of Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy said:

“For decades, the lack of evidence of the existence of such ions in interstellar space has put astronomy in a dilemma.” [2]

As early as 1925, chemists have synthesized this ion in the laboratory.

However, it was not until the late 1970s that astronomers began to discuss the possibility of the existence of such ions in the celestial environment and took the planetary nebula as a candidate region to search for such ions.

Planetary nebulae are made up of matter that Stellar, similar to the sun, constantly ejects outward at the end of its evolution.

The nebula continues to expand, and finally the gas and dust it throws out disperse in interstellar space, leaving only the central high-temperature Stellar.

Astronomers believe that the physical conditions of planetary nebulae are similar to those of the early universe, and it is very likely that such ions will be generated with sufficient density to be detected.

In fact, astronomers aimed at NGC 7027, the planetary nebula that discovered HeH+, from the very beginning.

The nebula is 3,000 light-years away from Earth 2050: The Future of Energy and is located near Cygnus.

However, the observation at that time did not obtain definite results, and the subsequent research, although implying the existence of HeH+, still did not realize direct detection.

Observatory on board

Starting in 2016, astronomers have tried to use Stratospheric Observatory for Infrastructed Astronology to carry out exploration.

This is a space-based observatory jointly launched by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It is actually carrying observation equipment on a Boeing 747SP wide-body passenger plane.

Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

SOFIA was put into use in 2010.

Flying at an altitude of more than 14000 meters above the ground can avoid a lot of interference in Earth 2050: The Future of Energy’s atmosphere.

And one of SOFIA’s obvious advantages over space telescopes is that astronomers can adjust the detection plan and install the latest equipment in time after each flight.

Harold York, director of SOFIA Science Center, said that SOFIA’s role:

“Helium hydride ion is hidden there, but we need the right equipment to observe it in the right place, and SOFIA can do it perfectly.” [2]

The equipment that helped astronomers discover Helium hydride ion this time was German Receiver at terahertz frequencies added to the latest equipment upgrade.

This instrument is a bit like the radio we use to listen to the radio. Astronomers tune it to the emission frequency of the ions we want to find, just as we tune the radio to the channel we want to listen to.

When SOFIA makes observations at night, the scientists on the plane can read the data from the equipment in real time.

In May 2016, SOFIA made observations in three flights.

The research team led by Gusten analyzed the observed data, and thus the signal from Helium hydride ion was finally discovered.

The discovery of Helium hydride ion for the first time excited Gustave and many astronomers. A long search finally led to A Perfect Ending.

On the basis of the Big Bang theory, we have formed an understanding of the early Cosmochemistry and deduced how it evolved into the complex chemistry in today’s universe over tens of billions of years.

The emergence of the first chemical reaction is undoubtedly one of the key parts.

Helium hydride ion’s discovery dispelled our previous worries, allowing us to continue to trust the existing theories and guiding us to discover the deeper secrets of the universe.

Now we know exactly where to start this story.

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Hello, I am a website editor. I've edited more than 10 websites in the last five years. My hobbies are health, life and website technology. For me, writing an article is part of my life. All articles on the page are based on scientific confirmation, not individual speculation, and more source comments will be added in the future. Thank you for reading!

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