Ribose Found in the Gas Phase


  • Financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN, 2010/CSD2007-00013, CTQ2009-14363, CTQ2011-22923), and the Basque Government (Consolidated Groups) is gratefully acknowledged. J.U.G. thanks additionally the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Land Niedersachsen. E.J.C. acknowledges also a “Ramón y Cajal” contract from the MICINN. Computational resources and laser facilities of the UPV-EHU were used in this work (SGIker and I2Basque).


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Sweet truth: The search for sugars in interstellar space is hampered by a lack of spectroscopic information. D-Ribose is now the first C5 sugar observed in the gas phase using microwave spectroscopy. The rotational spectrum revealed six conformations of free ribose, adopting preferentially β-pyranose rings and higher-energy α-pyranose forms. No evidence of α-/β-furanoses or linear forms was found, unlike biological systems, where β-furanoses are found in RNA.