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PhD Research Project

PhD in Astrochemistry


More Info


Institution Location



Department of Physics
Dr H Fraser
Applications accepted all year round
Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

Astrochemistry is the study of the formation and reaction of molecular species in interstellar environments. In astrochemistry, there are fundamental questions surrounding the chemical networks present in molecular cores, the birthplace of stars and planetary systems. Answers to these questions are sought via three research areas, observational astronomy, laboratory astrophysics and theoretical chemistry.

By adopting surface science techniques in a laboratory setting, astrochemists can investigate these reactions using model surfaces under controlled conditions. A comparison of these lab experiments with observations and astrophysical models provides knowledge about the formation of key molecular species in nearly stars and planetary systems.

During the course of this PhD candidates will study the potential chemical mechanisms that determine the formation of CO2 in interstellar ices, through a combination of laboratory experiments and astrochemical modelling. Some use will also be made of existing molecular dynamics codes to understand the interactions between CO2 CO and H2O. Collision induced reactions and outgassing will be studied using equipment originally developed for parabolic flight.

The opportunity exists to collaborate with established group members and our coworkers in France, Germany, Japan, USA and Sweden. In particular this will involve using observational astronomy to constrain the formation mechanisms and conditions for the formation of CO2 ices through a combination of gas-phase (Sub-mm) and solid phase (IR) observations of star forming regions involving satellites and ground based telescopes in Hawaii, Chile, SA, Australia, USA Japan and Spain


Funding Notes:

Applicants are usually expected to have a good quality (2:1 or 1st) MPhys, MChem, MSci degree (or its equivalent) in either Astronomy, Maths, Physics or Chemistry. Interested candidates should email including an up to date CV and details of their interest and motivation to study in this area


Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 Results


Unit of Assessment: Physics What is the RAE?
FTE Category A Staff Submitted 4* 3* 2* 1* U/C
31.67 5% 35% 50% 10% 0%


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