Scientific quality of the proposal
Molecular complexity in space (Objectives)
Molecules dominate the physics and chemistry of astrophysical objects.
Water plays an important role in the energy budget of the gas and will
be a prime target
for the Herschel observatory. The consortium will explore this role
studies on the excitation conditions and spectroscopy of this key
molecule and detailed
astronomical models including chemistry and radiative transfer.
The abundance of deuterated molecules allows to trace the chemistry at
very low temperatures.
The consortium will explore the properties of these deuterated species
in terms of reactivity and
spectroscopy. A model will be built to determine the abundance of
deuterated molecules in
An important aspect of chemistry is the building of complex molecules.
The consortium will 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. Specifically, the importance of the
electron density, UV photolysis and shocks for the chemical evolution
of large molecules will be quantified. In addition, this study will
be supplemented by laboratory spectroscopy studies on astronomically
relevant species. The consortium will then predict the observational
signatures for this chemical evolution. In doing this the consortium
will chart the path towards the identification of new molecules in
the on-going exploration of chemical complexity in space.