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Gas-Phase Chemistry in Space

Dr François Lique, Dr Alexandre Faure


Gas-Phase Chemistry in Space: From elementary particles to complex organic molecules is written by a collection of experts in the field of astrochemistry. The book introduces essential concepts that govern the formation, excitation and destruction of molecules at postgraduate and research levels. A broad range of topics are covered; from early universe chemistry and stellar nucleosynthesis, to the study of bimolecular reaction kinetics. Detailed description of the gas-phase process is provided and recent examples of the interplay between observational and laboratory astrophysics are examined. Using more than 100 figures, as well as examples, this work reveals, in detail, both theoretical and experimental perspectives that can be implemented in future discoveries.

About Editors

François Lique studied and received his PhD in physics in 2006 and is currently a professor at the Université Le Havre Normandie. His expertise lies in the use of quantum chemistry methods, the study of quantum dynamics of nuclei and astrophysical modelling.

Alexandre Faure obtained his PhD in 1999 and has since become an academic at CNRS in Grenoble. His research focuses on molecular processes of astrophysical relevance, and mainly concerns quantum aspects.

Table of Contents


About the editors



1 - The chemistry of the early Universe

2 - Nucleosynthesis: the origin of the chemical elements

3 - Gas-phase chemistry: reactive bimolecular collisions

4 - Radiative processes in astrophysical molecules

5 - Electron collision processes

6 - Molecular Spectroscopy of Astrophysical Molecules

7 - Excitation of Astrophysical Molecules

8 - Applications. The Molecular View Point of Interstellar Observations.


Hardback ISBN: 9780750314268

Ebook ISBN: 9780750314251

DOI: 10.1088/2514-3433/aae1b5

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing

Series: AAS-IOP Astronomy


As the editors state in their preface to this authoritative volume, astrochemistry is a rapidly growing field in astrophysics. Molecules are found in many types of astronomical region, from the Solar System to high-redshift galaxies, and molecular emissions can be used as thermometers and barometers that help astronomers probe the physical conditions in those objects. Molecules may also have active roles in which their behaviour controls the evolution of the region, as in the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets. A detailed understanding of the chemistry by which molecules are produced may also provide a remarkably thorough description of any astronomical molecular region and its evolution.

This book is a collaboration by fifteen experts in eight substantial chapters. These cover a wide range of topics from chemistry in the early Universe and the origin of the elements, to bimolecular reactions and collisional and radiative processes that may excite astronomical molecules. The final chapter reviews the success of gas-phase models and their insatiable appetite for molecular data. The chapters are written at a level suitable for active researchers in fundamental astrochemistry who may need to broaden the range of their knowledge. For such workers, it would be a great advantage to have this volume readily to hand. The emphasis throughout the book is on the essential theory of topics that underpin all of astrochemistry, and some attention is given to the indispensable contribution of laboratory work to the subject. The book does not attempt to tell the magnificent story emerging from observational molecular astronomy. As the title emphasizes, the book is strictly limited to gas-phase processes.

The book is beautifully produced, with many high-quality diagrams; comprehensive references are provided in all chapters. It should be an essential companion to those working in this field, and I recommend it highly.

David A. Williams 2019 The Observatory Magazine

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