July 2017: Interstellar ion research highlighted
The research of MSU Foundation Professor Marcos Dantus, faculty member in the Chemistry Department and adjunct professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy is highlighted in two online articles published on 05 July 2017.
The research involves the mechanisms for the formation of H3+ ions in space. These ions are known to be abundant and important to chemical interactions among interstellar particles, but little was known about how the presence of organic molecules aids thesse ions' production. A series of experiments using different lasers to initiate reactions and to measure their progress was able to map the details of the interactions among the particles involved. Since some of these interactions were observed to take well under a trillionth of a second from start to finish, it is more understandable that they have not been spotted before.
For more information, see the MSU Today article, the College of Natural Science website article, or the original paper published in Nature Scientific Reports by Prof. Dantus's group.