Research Group:Astronomy Unit
Number of Students:1
Length of Study in Years: 3
Full-time Project: yes
Recent observations of star-forming regions in the Galatic Center have revealed the presence of prebiotic molecular species such as glycolaldehyde, the simplest sugar, or formamide, a precursor of amino acids. Amino acids are key ingredients in the synthesis of proteins and therefore they are considered as the building blocks of life. Glycine is the simplest amino acid and, although it has been reported in meteorites and in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the Rosetta mission, its detection in the interstellar medium (ISM) remains elusive.
In this project, the student will analyse observations of the rotational molecular emission obtained toward a sample of Giant Molecular Clouds (GMCs) in the Galactic Center to characterise the chemistry of these complex organic molecules in space. Sub-/millimetre data from international facilities such as the IRAM 30m single-dish telescope, the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), will be used. The goal of the project will be to constrain the dominant formation/destruction processes of glycine in the ISM to determine the likelihood of detection in the Galactic Center GMCs with future instrumentation such as the Band 1 of ALMA and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
A degree in Physics, Mathematics or similar.
SPA Academics: Izaskun Jimenez-Serra