• Water vapour in Space. Fundamental studies on the excitation conditions and spectroscopy of this key molecule and detailed astronomical models including chemistry and radiative transfer will be performed.
  • Molecular complexity in Space. Explore the evolution and the physical and chemical characteristics of large carbon chains and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon molecules in space by combining laboratory and theoretical studies into astronomical models of interstellar sources.
  • Deuterium Chemistry. A concerted research effort will be directed towards identifying the chemical routes, the spectroscopy of deuterated species and their excitation.
  • Gas phase and surface chemistry. Study of key gas-phase reactions of interest for the interstellar medium at 70-300 K, laboratory measurements and ab-initio calculations. The chemistry of interstellar ice surfaces will be studied in the ultravacuum chambers of the CAB.
  • Nitrogen and Oxygen chemistry. Studies of the reactivity and excitation of nitrogen-bearing and O-bearing species (including atomic oxygen), as well as their spectroscopy, may provide the only way to determine the physical conditions and dynamics of the phase preceding the collapse phase of star formation.
  • Molecules as probing tools. The collisional rates for these species (first priority will be CO, H2O, and OH) will be derived from laboratory experiments and ab initio calculations (if not already available).
  • Planetary atmospheres. Adaptation of spectral databases and new laboratory measurements of the frequencies of combination bands of the most abundant species in Titan, Venus and Mars atmospheres.
  • Radiative transfer models. Development of powerful radiative transfer codes for the interpretation of the spectroscopic and spectropolarimetric observations we will be able to carry out with the present and future telescopes, such as HERSCHEL, ALMA, SKA, and ELT.
  • Technological developments ⇒ Development of state-of-the-art techniques for laboratory production and detection of species of astrophysical interest, high resolution spectroscopy and new ab initio methods.

    New instrumental developments will grant access to a series of experiments whose results will be most relevant for the interpretation and analysis of the data obtained with the new astronomical observatories coming on line. Hence, these developments crosscorrelate with all astronomical activities related to chemical modelling, radiative transfer and data interpretation of molecular species of astrophysical interest.

ASTROMOL Laboratories: Available techniques (2010)

Laser vaporization of solids coupled to supersonic expansion — GEM-UVA and LHM-UCM groups
Laser and thermal desorption or electrospray ionization and storage in multipole ion traps — DINQUIM-UCM and IONTRAP-UPO groups
Cooled supersonic jets of pure or mixed gases — GFM-CSIC and QYCA-UCLM groups
Cooled anion beams — LHM-UCM group
Cold plasma of neutral and ionic species — GFM-CSIC group
Laser ionization, detachment, or dissociation coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF MS) — GEM-UVA, LHM-UCM and DINQUIM-UCM groups
Deposition of ice monolayers at low laminar flow rates, photodesorption and thermal processing of ices, photochemistry all in ultravacuum chambers — AM-CSIC group


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