NETWORK APPLICATION: A Network in Surface Science Applications in Laboratory Astrophysics

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science


A new, UK-based network is proposed, which will bring together scientists from a range of disciplines with a common interest in understanding the interaction of the gaseous interstellar medium with the surfaces of dust grains. Only relatively recently have astronomers realised the importance of this gas-grain interaction in the chemical evolution of the interstellar medium. Surface scientists, both experimental and theoretical, are now investigating many aspects of this interaction; the formation of hydrogen and other molecules from atoms, the behaviour of the icy mantles that coat the grains and how these mantles are processed to yield complex, pre-biotic molecules by light, electrons and ions. It will be the role of the network to encourage communication between scientists from different communities to ensure that a proper and complete understanding of these complex interactions is forthcoming. To achieve this aim a combination of research meetings and training workshops will be used to enlighten the membership to the range of issues it must address and to give the membership the necessary background understanding. The research meetings will be held annually, while we envisage workshops as important only in the initial stages of the network existence to break down the barriers to understanding between the communities. The initial membership of the network will be closely balanced between communities comprising the network. As the network develops, new members from both communities will be added to ensure a continued balance.


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