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IMM colloquium February 2018: "Fingerprinting molecules for astronomy – spectroscopy in cryogenic ion traps" (Lecture)

Tuesday 27 February 2018Add to my calendar
from 16:00
dr. Sandra Brünken (FELIX)
"Fingerprinting molecules for astronomy – spectroscopy in cryogenic ion traps"
Preceding lecture
Rita Folcarelli, MSc.(Analytical Chemistry), title: "Multivariate Analysis applied to Multicolor Flow Cytometry for Automated Identification of Disease-Specific Cells"

Sandra BrunkenMolecular processes govern the evolution of many regions in the universe. Molecular emission lines, for instance, provide the dominant cooling mechanism in collapsing interstellar clouds which are the birthplaces of stars, and reactions starting from rather simple molecular species in the gas-phase lead to an increasing level of chemical complexity. Furthermore, observations of molecular emission and absorption lines constitute the major diagnostics of physical and chemical conditions in most astronomical environments. Laboratory experiments on the microscopic (molecular) level providing spectroscopic and chemical reactivity data are crucial to interpret the astronomical observations and to gain insight into macroscopic processes like the dynamics of star formation.

In this colloquium I will demonstrate how the development of general and sensitive spectroscopic schemes offers unique possibilities for the characterization of molecular ions, like reactive hydrocarbon cations that play an important role in interstellar carbon chemistry. We use a cryogenic ion trap instrument, where molecular ions can be mass-selected, cooled and and their spectral fingerprints be recorded, using for example the FELIX free electron lasers. Recent progress on these so-called action spectroscopic methods allows not only to probe electronic and vibrational excitation processes, but also to record purely rotational molecular spectra, which are a direct prerequisite for radio-astronomical detections of new species in space as will be demonstrated with selected examples. Cryogenic ion trap instruments are also ideally suited to study the kinetics of neutral-ion reactions under controlled conditions and at astrophysically relevant temperatures. I will outline how we want to use the combination of these unique capabilities with advanced spectroscopic schemes to study the formation and growth processes of complex molecular species in space.

prof. Alexey Kimel