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Review: Laboratory Spectroscopy Techniques to Enable Observations of Interstellar Ion Chemistry

Researchers from MIT, the University of Cologne and FELIX Laboratory have published a review paper in Nature Reviews Physics on advanced spectroscopic techniques in the THz and infrared regime that enable the identification and characterization of astrochemically relevant molecular ions.

Molecular ions are considered key intermediates in the evolution of molecular complexity in the interstellar medium (the birthplace of stars and planets). However, owing to their reactivity and transient nature, ions have historically proved challenging to study in terrestrial laboratory experiments. Past and recent advances in laboratory spectroscopy are discussed, including state-of-the-art infrared and THz action spectroscopic techniques (which are also employed at the FELion beamline at FELIX). With numerous examples the authors emphasize how the synergy between laboratory studies, astrochemical modelling and astronomical observations advances our understanding of interstellar chemistry.


Laboratory Spectroscopy Techniques to Enable Observations of Interstellar Ion Chemistry, Brett A. McGuire, Oskar Asvany, Sandra Brünken and Stephan Schlemmer, Nature Reviews Physics 2, 402–410 (2020)

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Sandra Brünken

FELion cryogenic ion-trap beamline at the FELIX Laboratory (photo ©Gideon Laureijs)

FELion cryogenic ion-trap beamline