Laboratoire d’Études du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique et Atmosphères

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Molecules in the Universe

Molecules, ubiquitous in our atmosphere and in space, are providing powerful tools for probing the physics and chemistry of many different environments. They provide important clues for major scientific objectives such as climatology and planetology, star and planet formation and the question of the origin of life.

The analysis of molecular radiation under various extreme conditions requires nowadays, a high level of knowledge in molecular science which has to support a wealth of observational data arising from new generation of telescopes, satellites and probes. In addition, molecular processes are at the cornerstone in the evolution of matter in space.

The thematic pole “Molecules in the Universe” aims at pushing forward the current theoretical and experimental limits in molecular science in order :
(1) to obtain fundamental molecular parameters with high degree of accuracy that are essential for probing and modelling complex media and
(2) to understand and predict - at atomic and molecular levels - an increasing number of unknown molecular processes.

This pole brings together research groups leader in quantum physics/chemistry, low temperature physics, chemical physics as well as surface science researchers. It includes complementary theoretical and experimental teams based at Paris (Jussieu Campus), Meudon and Cergy-Pontoise.

The pole aims at playing a major role at the interface between molecular and astrophysics & atmospheric sciences while being fully invested in fundamental molecular and chemical physics science.

This reserach group has long standing experience in multi-disciplinary approaches and is a major actor of “Laboratory Astrophysics” (http://www.labastro.eu/), a new European Networks engaged in fundamental experimental, interpretative and computational research and modelling.
The pole contributes to the establishment and management of widely-used atomic and molecular databases and data centres (http://www.vamdc.eu/).

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Séminaires à venir

Vendredi 21 septembre 2018, 14h00
Salle de l'atelier, Paris
Understanding the structure of molecular clouds: Multi-line wide-field imaging of Orion B
résumé :
The new generation of wide-bandwidth high-resolution receivers turns
almost any radio observation into a spectral survey. In the case of
wide-field imaging of the interstellar medium, such a wealth of data
provides new diagnostic tools, but also poses new challenges in terms of
data processing and analysis.

The ORION-B project aims at observing 5 square degrees of the Orion B
molecular cloud, or about half of the cloud's surface, over the entire
3mm band. The emission of tens of molecular tracers have been mapped,
including CO isotopologues, HCO+, CN, HNC, N2H+, methanol, SO, CN...
Machine learning techniques have been applied to these maps, in order to
segment the molecular cloud into typical regions based on their
molecular emission, and to idenfify the most meaningful correlations of
different molecular tracers with each other and with physical quantities
such as density or dust temperature.

The spatial coverage, together with the spatial and spectral resolution,
also allow to characterize statistically the kinematics and dynamics of
the gas. The amount of momentum in the compressive and solenoidal
(rotational) modes of turbulence are retrieved, showing that the cloud
is dominated by solenoidal motions, with the compressive modes being
concentrated in two star-forming regions - which is in line with the
overall very low star formation efficiency of the cloud, and highlights
the role of compressive forcing in the star formation process. The
filamentary network of the molecular cloud also proves to have
particluarly low densities, and is very stable against gravitational
collapse and fragmentation, which also points at a young evolutionary
stage of the filaments.
Vendredi 5 octobre 2018, 14h00
Salle de l'atelier, Paris
Astrochemistry in star forming regions : new modeling approaches
Emeric BRON
résumé :
Star-forming regions present rich infrared and millimeter spectra emitted by the gas exposed to the feedback of young stars. This emission is increasingly used to study the star formation cycle in other galaxies, but results from a complex interplay of physical and chemical processes : chemistry in the gas and on grain surfaces, (de)excitation processes of the atoms and molecules, heating and cooling balance,... Its understanding thus requires detailed astrochemical models that include the couplings between these processes. In this talk, I will present several examples where new modeling approaches of specific processes and their couplings proved crucial to solve persistent observational riddles : from the driving role of UV irradiation in the dynamics of photodissociation regions (PDR) to the efficient reformation of molecular hydrogen in these regions.
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