Press Archive 2015
In interstellar clouds particle densities are extremely low and temperatures can be as low as
–263 °C (resp. 10 K). Thus, interstellar chemistry is significantly different from well-known terrestrial
chemistry. In order to improve our knowledge of the formation and stability of interstellar
molecules, experiments have to be conducted under conditions as they also occur in space.
For this special purpose, the novel cryogenic electrostatic storage ring CSR has been designed and constructed at MPIK. It allows for the storage of ion beams, heavy molecules and even atomic and molecular clusters in extremely high vacuum (below 10-13 mbar) and enables the investigation of molecular reaction processes.
In 2009, a specially developed prototype has already been successfully put into test operation. In March 2014 the researchers succeeded in keeping an injected Ar+ beam on a stable orbit in the non-cooled storage ring for many hundred circulations. Recently, members of our division have successfully performed the first experiment in the ultracold storage ring. They injected hydroxide ions (OH–) into the CSR which circulated for more than ten minutes on the 35,4 m long storage ring orbit. In order to verify that the stored OH− ions are actually cooled down to temperatures as they occur in interstellar space, the internal energy of the stored molecules was determined. A first data evaluation confirmed the targeted ultracold temperature of the molecules. Thus, the physicists at MPIK can now use their novel Cryogenic Storage Ring as a worldwide unique tool to study the chemistry of interstellar space.
Please read also the following detailed press releases: