Identifying molecules in space: Exploring astrochemistry through high-resolution spectroscopy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In the far reaches of interstellar space, over 130 different chemical compounds have been identified. These discoveries have been possible because of the nature of quantum mechanics and the "fingerprint" pattern that gas-phase molecules exhibit in high resolution spectra. These patterns can be measured very accurately in the laboratory, and then compared with radio telescope observations to seek out novel chemical species. A new view of the "molecular Universe" has emerged as a result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChemical Evolution Across Space and Time
Subtitle of host publicationFrom the Big Bang to Prebiotic Chemistry
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780841274310
StatePublished - Feb 15 2008

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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