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Invited researcher Kaiser Ralf Ingo
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The laboratory proposes a new strategy for the solution of the problem of the emergence and evolution of complex organic molecules (COMs) in our galaxy. The strategy will envisage, on the one hand, the promotion of laboratory astrophysics to the foreground during joint research in various domains of science, including laboratory astrophysical, chemical dynamics, spectroscopy, theory, modelling and astronomical observations and, on the other hand, the building of solutions to problems from elementary reactions to complex macro-processes.

Name of the project: The origin and evolution of organic molecules in our galaxy

Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development Priority Level: е

Goals and objectives

The main goals of the laboratory are the discovery of the paths of the formation of complex organic compounds observed in our galaxy and the application of the obtained results to understand the chemical evolution of the Solar system and to solve the mystery of how life emerged on Earth. This will be achieved by researching the mechanism of the formation of COMs comprised of С, Н, О, and N atoms in low temperature ice that enshrouds cosmic nano-particles (sand grains) in the developed state-of the-art facility «‎Cryogenic surface processes»‎ that replicates the conditions of the interstellar space. Nano-particles covered with ice play a critical role in processes of the formation of stars and solar systems, as well as serve as permanent factories of complex organic molecule generated by non-equilibrium reactions on the surface induced by cosmic radiation. Since these particles are one of the main source materials for solar systems, the discovery of the origin of complex organic molecules in them is necessary for the understanding of the fundamental processes that have created biologically relevant molecules (and their precursors) in our Solar System.

Key objectives:

  1. To design, build, and launch next-generation cryogenic surface processes;
  2. To build a unified concept of the fundamental processes of the growth of molecular mass leading to the main classes of organic compounds in extraterrestrial ice on the basis of experimental data obtained within the project;
  3. To test the mechanisms of the formation of COMs in molecular clouds and star formation regions by comparing them with results of astrochemical modelling and astronomical observations.

The practical value of the study
Projected research results: 

  1. Fundamental laws of radiation-induced physico-chemical processes in low-temperature interstellar ice;
  2. The mechanisms of growth of organic compounds in interstellar ice;
  3. A refined concept of the evolution of organic compounds in space.

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