Electronic spectra of carbon chains and rings: Astrophysical relevance?

Jochnowitz, Evan B. ; Maier, John P.

In: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 2008, vol. 4, no. S251, p. 395-402

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    Our research has focused on the measurement of the electronic spectra of unstable molecules which are presumed to be of relevance to astrophysical observations. Among these are the carbon chains and their ions. Thus we have been using and developing a number of spectroscopic methods to determine their spectra in the gas phase, including absorption via cavity ring-down and REMPI methods. The species are produced in supersonic jets coupled with discharge and laser ablation sources. With the successful laboratory detection of the electronic spectra of a number of key species, such as bare carbon chains Cn n=4,5, comparisons with astrophysical data could be made which lead to interesting implications for the future search for the species which could be responsible for the diffuse interstellar bands. Among the recent relevant observations in the laboratory have been the electronic spectra of carbon rings, Cn n=14,18,22, the development of a method to study transitions in mass-selected ions collisionally relaxed to 20 K and held in a 22-pole radiofrequency trap, and the study of metal containing carbon chains