Tolou Sabri: As a LASSIE early stage researcher, I work on the experimental study of condensation and processing of dust in the astrophysical environments. Studying the structural and spectral properties of cosmic dust is significantly important because the formation and processing of main dust components in different astrophysical environments is not yet completely understood. For this reason, I perform gas-phase condensation techniques such as laser ablation to produce the two major cosmic dust analogues, which are nanometer-sized carbonaceous and siliceous grains. The laboratory studies on the simulation of astrophysical condensation processes allow us to figure out the final chemical composition and structure of the condensing grain. In the interstellar medium, the dust grains can be modified in structure and composition by the harsh interstellar irradiation field. Therefore, experiments to simulate the processing of grains by UV or ion irradiation in the laboratory are important to understand the cycle of dust and the corresponding modification of spectral and structural properties of the grains. The main tool to characterize dust analogue materials and their structural transformations is spectroscopy which is performed in a wide range from the FUV to the FIR. It also provides the major link to astronomical observations and the tool for identification of cosmic dust properties. In addition, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) are necessary to build a bridge to the morphology, structure, and chemical composition of the condensates and processed materials.
The project has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013] under grant agreement Nr. 238258.