Laboratory experiments and chemical models

NANOCOSMOS has developed a custom-designed vacuum chamber for the study of gas-phase molecular species through rotational spectroscopy. The innovative breakthrough is the coupling of the chamber to the new NANOCOSMOS millimeter broad band receivers. These receivers are twins of those built for the Yebes 40 meter radio telescope. We call the whole experimental setup as GACELA – Gas Cell for Laboratory Astrophysics.

Our experiments address the characterization of molecules that represent a considerable fraction of all the molecular species detected in the interstellar medium – ISM – but present rotational parameters not precise enough to allow their detection in the ISM. Therefore, we have used GACELA to measure the rotational spectrum of 4 molecular species in the frequency ranges 31.5–50 GHz (Q band) and 72–116.5 GHz (W band) in the laboratory. At the same time, we support these spectroscopic studies with high-level ab initio calculations. Finally, we use the derived experimental rotational parameters to allow the search of these molecular species in astrophysical environments.

We have complemented the GACELA experiments with other techniques like Fourier transform microwave (FTMW) spectroscopy at UVA (11 molecular compounds), absorption spectroscopy (2 molecular compounds) and cryogenic trapping machine experiments (7 protonated molecular species).

Below, we show a summary table on the performed experimental characterizations and techniques. We also include the Nanocosmos publication when clicking on the compound. For Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), proceed far below after the table (new page).

Laboratory characterization techniques performed by Nanocosmos on species of astrophysical relevance (for PAHs, see next table far below).

Set upTechniqueLaboratory characterizationSearch in Space (IRAM/Yebes/ALMA)
GACELA1Broadband MW radio astronomical receiversc-C3H5CHO
No detections (upper limits)
UVA2FTMW spectroscopyCyanoacetamide
NaCl (laboratory)
Methyl cyanate
Acrylic acid
No detections (upper limits)
COLTRAP3 Cryogenic ion trap12C14N+, 12C15N+, NH3D+, NH2D2+, NHD3+
12CH+, 13CH+
Future detections
Lille University4Terahertz spectroscopyC2H4OS
Methyl ketene
No detections (upper limits)
1 Nanocosmos broadband millimeter-wave spectrometer based on the new radio astronomy receivers with fast Fourier transform backends; 2Available techniques at the Nanocosmos beneficiary group Universidad de Valladolid (UVA) GEM Group; 3Collaboration with the Universität zu Köln (cryogenic 22-pole ion trap apparatus – COLTRAP); 4Collaboration with The University of Lille, PMI team (The Lille terahertz absorption spectrometer)