What processes drive the evolution of interstellar matter in the Milky Way and in other galaxies ? What roles do the turbulence, the magnetic field, the cosmic rays, and the radiation field play in this evolution ? Those fundamental questions for modern Astrophysics now appear at many spatial scales and for a great variety of environments : from the galactic scales where the diffuse gas collapse to form the precursors of new stars ; down to the scale of proto-planetary disks where the central star strongly interacts with the surrounding matter ; and even in the stars themselves where the transport mechanisms are still unknown. To study all these astronomical objects, the group « Interstellar Medium and Plasmas » of the LERMA combine theoretical works, numerical modeling, 3D simulations, and observations of interstellar environments at high spectral and angular resolutions.
On the observational side, our group is specialized in the treatment and the analysis of the data obtained with the most advanced space and ground-based observatories. Our expertise is particularly strong in the infrared and sub-millimeter domains which reveal the emission of atoms, molecules and interstellar dust. We have therefore been deeply involved in the recent successes and findings of Herschel and Planck space observatories, which we now follow up by collecting data with the new generation of instruments (in particular, APEX, ALMA, and soon NOEMA).
On the numerical side, the codes developed in our group are internationally renowned as state-of-the-art tools for the analysis of interstellar matter and the interpretation of observational data. Our expertise extends from the conception of 3D numerical simulations of magnetohydrodynamics, which we run using high-level computational capacities (e.g. PRACE, MesoPSL), to the development of advanced numerical models. The strength of those models, which we provide to the community through the ISM and jets platform, is to solve a great number of microphysical processes at play in the interstellar medium, with prescriptions based on the results of laboratory experiments and theoretical studies which are partly performed in our laboratory.
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3. Stellar plasmas and laboratory astrophysics
4. Prestellar cores
5. Protostars, debris & jets
6. Accretion & ejection in stars