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Astronomy Colloquium
"Laboratory Astrochemistry"
Date: Thursday, September 16th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies at 3:30 pm, Talk starts at 3:45 pm
Speaker: Gustavo Cruz Diaz, UW Madison
Abstract: Dense and cold regions in space, such as protoplanetary disks and dark clouds, are regions where ice mantles can be observed. Ice mantles can be grown thanks to the deposition of simple volatiles like water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. These mantles are constantly exposed to a variety of energy sources processing the mantles changing their chemical composition. Over time, the ice mantles will change from a simple composition to a more complex one where organic molecules can be found. Using an ultra-high-vacuum chamber and a cryostat, dark clouds and protoplanetary disks conditions can be recreated in the lab. Energy sources like vacuum UV photons and high-energy electrons induce chemistry in the ice mantle and change their composition. What we are trying to answer is, how far can we go in space chemistry? Do we need specific environments like earth to produce organic molecules like the building blocks of life, or could they be produced in space?
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