Société Française d'Exobiologie

Stage de M2 sur la chimie prébiotique hydrothermale à Talence

Hydrothermal synthesis of small prebiotic molecules from simple gases and vent-related catalytic minerals

HOST LABORATORY : Institut des Sciences Moléculaires (ISM)
Tél : 05 40 00 28 92
Mail : ,
Adresse : ISM, 351, cours de la Libération, 33405 TALENCE
Possibility to pursue the internship until the end of August: NO
Possibility to offer the internship to a M1 if not attributed to a M2: YES

The candidate should have interest in the origin of life with good experimental skills in organic and physical chemistry. Knowledge on catalysis and/or geochemistry would be appreciated.

Since the discovery around seafloor hot springs on the Galapagos mid-ocean rift that microorganisms could survive under conditions of extreme heat and pressure, it has been proposed that life could have emerged near hydrothermal vents that act as flow reactors, where hydrothermal fluids and liquid seawater mix and react in vent chimneys composed of finely-grained natural catalytic minerals. However, the mutual solubility of the reactants and the phase equilibria in these complex aqueous environments are badly known. Thus, using a high temperature-high pressure (HTHP) cell developed in our laboratory, this master internship aims at performing experiments with in-situ infrared/Raman spectroscopies implemented on the HTHP cell to characterize the thermodynamics of complex mixtures in extreme conditions. In a second time, synthesis experiments should be performed using model catalytic minerals containing elements such as Mn, Fe, Ni, S with different composition of reactive model gases (CO2, N2, H2, …), in order to see the influence of different parameters (gas composition, temperature, reaction time, nature of the mineral) on the formation of small pre-biotic molecules (pyruvate, acetate, small alcohols, amino acids….).

High pressure/High temperature Millifluidics In situ spectroscopy (Raman, Infrared)
Ex-situ analysis (Raman, NMR…)

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