CAS@MPE Structure

The CAS group includes experts in observations (including millimetre and sub-millimetre interferometry, radio and infrared telescopes), theory (physical processes and dynamics, gas-grain chemical processes and dust evolution, molecular astrophysics and collisional/rate coefficients), and the laboratory (focusing on molecular frequency measurements in the spectral windows of the new generation of telescopes).

The continuous interactions within CAS and the links with external national and international groups ensures a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment, where observers, theoreticians, chemists and molecular astrophysicists join their efforts with the ultimate goal of properly interpreting observations with the new generation telescopes and unveiling our astrochemical/physical heritage. This is sorely needed, as current interdisciplinary activity among groups with different scientific aims and backgrounds (e.g. astrophysicists, chemists, computer scientists), located in different countries, is not enough to keep up with the astrophysical data intake and interpretation.

CAS is a complete group, where fundamental astrophysical questions can be answered and current theoretical and laboratory needs fulfilled.

CAS plays a crucial role within the Max Planck Society. In fact, the unprecedented sensitivity and spectral resolution of current and future instrumentation make astrochemistry a key discipline in many fields of astrophysics, from Galactic star formation, to planet formation, to exoplanet atmospheres, to the Solar System, to extragalactic star formation in the local and early universe. Thus, other Max Planck Institutes may benefit from interactions with CAS.

The proposed interlinked structure of the Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE (CAS@MPE). The main areas are: (1) Observations, (2) Theory, and (3) Laboratory.
(1) Observations, with current and future state-of-the art radio, millimetre, sub-millimetre and infrared telescopes. Main topics include interstellar medium, star formation, proto-planetary disk formation and evolution, planet formation, exoplanet atmospheres.
(2) Theory, inclusive of (i) dynamical models, to understand the physical processes regulating the observed source, which will then be included in the (ii) gas-grain chemical network to derive the chemical composition. Results from (i) and (ii) will be input in radiative transfer codes, to compare with observations and refine the models in case of mismatch. (iii) Collisional coefficient calculations, crucial for the radiative transfer/chemical models and data interpretation.
(3) Laboratory, which will focus on the measurements of molecular frequencies in the range of interest for observations with the new generation of telescopes.
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