Spectroscopy of Interstellar Ice Analogues

The cryogenic laboratory developed at the CAS group is dedicated to the study of optical and spectroscopic properties of interstellar ice analogs (CASICE). The chemical and physical processes occurring in icy mantles, which cover dust grains in many astronomical environments, are of key importance to unravel the molecular complexity observed in space. These processes are critically affected by the ice composition and structure, and therefore it is necessary to develop a reliable methodology to identify imprints of different ices in observable properties of cosmic dust.

The aim of these measurements is to provide reliable data needed to estimate dust opacity in dense and cold regions of pre-stellar cores and protoplanetary disks and to provide a benchmark for upcoming IR astronomical observations. Furthermore, we are interested in analyzing the diffusion properties in ice mixtures, and between the ice layers and the substrate. The current research lines are investigating the IR spectroscopy of ice mixtures, the measurement of the optical constant in the THz regime, and the Raman spectroscopy and imaging of ice analogs. Various experimental set-ups are available in the laboratory for carrying on our investigation: a Fourier Transform InfraRed Spectrometer, a THz Time-Domain Spectrometer, and a Confocal Raman microscope.

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