Labor­at­ory As­tro­phys­ics

FROM MO­LECULES TO NANO-GRAINS: The Evol­u­tion of Cos­mic Mat­ter

The large variety of molecules found in astrophysical environments witnesses an impressive complexity and chemical richness of our universe. It is our aim to focus on the very first steps in the chemical evolution of matter by examining the relevant molecules, from small sized di-atomics and larger poly-atomics to nanosized dust particles in the laboratory, in theory and by observations. In 2016 the first chiral molecule, propylene oxide, was detected in space. As one of the participating groups of the collaborative research center CRC-ELCH, the laboratory astrophysics group studies the dynamics and the chemical properties of chiral molecules such as propylene oxide, styrene oxide and hydrogen peroxide in the gas phase.

2018 start of the Collaborative Research Center ELCH. The CRC ELCH, funded since 2018 by the DFG, is dedicated to chiral molecules in the gas phase. The laboratory astrophysics group conducts high precision spectroscopic experiments to investigate the internal tunneling dynamics of chiral molecules between their enantiomeric forms. In 2019 the group has set up two OPO-laser systems, both frequency-stabilized on a frequency-comb. In addition, a GPS-controlled 100 GHz chirped pulse spectrometer was established to perform two-photon-IR-mm-spectroscopy of chiral molecules in the gas phase and in supersonic jets.

Figure 1: The structure and internal dynamics of the chiral molecules propylene oxide and styrene oxide are studied by means of high precision spectroscopy.


Breier et al. (2016)          A.A. Breier, T. Büchling, R. Schnierer, V. Lutter, G.W. Fuchs, K.M.T. Yamada, B. Mookerjea, J. Stutzki, T.F. Giesen, J. Chem. Phys. 145, 23 (2016).

Breier et al. (2018)          A.A. Breier, B. Waßmuth, T. Büchling, G.W. Fuchs, J. Gauss, T.F. Giesen, J. Mol. Spectrosc., 350, 43 (2018).

Breier et al. (2019)          A.A. Breier, B. Waßmuth, G.W. Fuchs, J. Gauss, T.F. Giesen, J. Mol. Spectrosc., 355, 46 (2019).

Giesen et al. (2019)         T.F. Giesen, B. Mookerjea, G.W. Fuchs, A.A. Breier, D. Witsch, R. Simon, J. Stutzki, (Astronom. & Astrophys., accepted for publication).

Kamiński et al. (2018)     T. Kamiński, R. Tylenda, K.M. Menten, A. Karakas, J.M. Winters, A.A. Breier, K. T. Wong, T.F. Giesen and N. A. Patel, Nature Astronomy, 2, 778 (2018).

Witsch et al. (2019)         D. Witsch, V. Lutter, A.A. Breier, K.M.T. Yamada, G.W. Fuchs, J. Gauss, T.F. Giesen, J. Phys. Chem. A, 123, 19, 4168-4177 (2019).


Prof. Dr. Thomas Giesen

full member

Giesen, Thomas
+49 561 804-4775
+49 561 804-934792
Universität Kassel
Fachbereich 10 - Naturwissenschaften & Mathematik
Institut für Physik
Heinrich-Plett-Straße 40
34132 Kassel


Annette Westermann

Telephone:    +49 561 804-4792