University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars > Gravitation, Condensation, Deuteration, Star Formation (or how to piece together the chemical and physical influences thereof!)

Gravitation, Condensation, Deuteration, Star Formation (or how to piece together the chemical and physical influences thereof!)

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The detailed chemical processes occurring in star-forming regions in our own galaxy and extra-galactic sources are key to the generation of molecules in these regions, which in turn are our windows (through observational spectroscopy) on the key factors influencing star-formation, such as turbulent mixing, gravitational collapse, chemical evolution and magnetic support, which all occur over similar length and time-scales. Since the largest molecular reservoir in such regions is actually the condensed matter on interstellar dust grains (known as ‘ice’), my research focuses on the chemical and physical attributes of ices in star forming regions.

In this talk I’ll show a range of recent results on interstellar ice studies in the laboratory – covering deuteration of H2O in space (via surface reactions of D+H2O / D+CH3OH and CD3 Od +H2O), the formation of CO2 ‘ice’ via surface reactions with OH radicals, the ‘sticky’ properties of interstellar ice, and how this relates to the earliest stages of planet formation (as tested under microgravity conditions); theoretical studies of ice formation – using molecular dynamics codes to study the formation of porous ices and understand the hydrogen bonding in such systems, and recent observational data on ice mapping, showing that the distribution of ices in interstellar space is perhaps more closely related to the phyical motion rather than the chemical soup of a particular star-forming clump.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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