Ice in Space: Physical Characterization Laboratory and Applications

Previous talks in the CAB series explain different mechanisms for forming COMs (Complex Organic Molecules) in the interstellar medium (ISM), and how these molecules became the basis for the evolution of life when the Earth exploded into a plethora of living species.

Research in astrophysics aims for example to quantify the individual amounts of every detected molecule, to study their physical and chemical influence in different astrophysical scenarios, or to determine their chemical evolution from the simplest molecules to the COMs.

We therefore need to characterize the ices in the laboratory. This is done by examining parameters such as density, optical constants, porosity, diffusion coefficients, sublimation energies and so on. This will ultimately allow us to understand observations, reproduce irradiation doses, and maybe explain processes that occur under different conditions; from planets, comets, and other solar system objects, to interstellar icy grains. The talk reviews some of these important parameters studied in our laboratory and their relationship with the ice structure, and will attempt to show how they have been applied, or can be used in the future.