Atomic and Molecular Data Services for Astrophysics - Cambridge Element

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Institute of Astronomy


Astronomers observe light from deep space. The interpretation of these signals requires a deep understanding of the physical processes involved in generating them. This can only be achieved through systematic study of the underlying process in the laboratory. Laboratory data is therefore an essential component in any successful astronomical campaign. Recently a European initiative, the Virtual Atomic and Molecular Data Centre (VAMDC), has attempted to link all they key databases in the atomic and molecular physics area, and to make the fully interoperable through the development of dedicated software. The VAMDC portal now provides access to about 30 distinct databases, including UK based one such as UDfA and Chianti, which cover the key atomic and molecular processes required for astrophysics. The present project will improve the quality and accessibility of these data both by direct improvement tof VAMDC protocols and services, and by improving the services provided by UK-based databases which link to VAMDC.

Planned Impact

Please see lead case.


10 25 50
publication icon
Dubernet M (2015) Virtual Atomic and Molecular Data Centre: Level 3 Service and Future Prospects in Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

publication icon
Dubernet M (2016) The virtual atomic and molecular data centre (VAMDC) consortium in Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

Description The proposal built on the success of the Virtual Atomic and Molecular Data Centre (VAMDC) portal and infrastructure in three areas of importance to the UK:
(a) Further development of the UK's astronomical databases UDfA, Chianti and ExoMol;
(b) Increased functionality of VAMDC for astronomical users; important in supporting strategic initiatives such as large spectroscopic surveys of the Milky Way (leveraging Gaia), and
exoplanet atmosphere studies;
(c) Through a series of workshops, raised awareness of the potential of VAMDC within the UK astronomy/space community and the related UK presence within the VAMDC consortium.
Exploitation Route The improved access to atomic and molecular data is of significant benefit to a range of communities, from astrophysics, to earth sciences, to the medical domain, climate studies and so forth.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Other

Description The Virtual Atomic and Molecular Data Centre (VAMDC) is a data portal providing interoperable access (a one-stop shop) for laboratory data in the atomic and molecular area, see The 29 databases accessible via VAMDC provide a particularly good resource for the astrophysics community containing the key atomic and molecular data required by this community. VAMDC was funded by two successive EU grants under FP7. The work carried out under this proposal successfully increased the usefulness of the VAMDC portal to the astrophysics community.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Other
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description VAMDC 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The UK VAMDC partnership (Cambridge, UCL, Open University, QUB) are partners in the VAMDC Consortium: See The VAMDC Consortium is a consortium of Institutes and Research Institutions that share a common technical and political framework for the distribution and curation of atomic and molecular data. The VAMDC Consortium technical framework relies on the use of the e-science VAMDC infrastructure that provides the international research community with access to a broad range of atomic and molecular (A&M) data compiled within a set of A&M databases accessible through the provision of a single portal. Furthermore VAMDC aims to provide A&M data providers and compilers with a large dissemination platform for their work. Section << Research Services >> provides all information on the VAMDC e-science infrastructure. The VAMDC Consortium political framework relies on rules of collaboration and organisation that are described in the Memorandum of Understanding and in the Internal Regulations documents.
Collaborator Contribution Active in support of VAMDC standards.
Impact .
Start Year 2014