BGU Physics Department

Colloquium, June 28th, 2012

Laboratory Astrophysics with Storage Rings

Dirk Schwalm 

Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg, Germany
The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Most of our knowledge on stars and interstellar matter is deduced from radiation spectra observed by earth- or satellite-bound instruments, the interpretation of which requires a detailed understanding of the processes leading to the emission and absorption of radiation and to the production of the emitting and absorbing systems. With the advent of heavy ion storage rings capable of storing and cooling beams of highly charged atomic ions as well as of molecular ions, it became possible to study some of the relevant atomic and molecular processes at conditions encountered in space. There are in particular two areas where storage rings play a rather unique role, that is in the investigation of the production and recombination of highly charged ions in photo-ionized and electron-ionized plasmas (temperatures T > 10^5 K) and in the study of recombination processes of electrons with molecular ions occurring in interstellar clouds at temperatures of T ~10–100 K. Some benchmark processes investigated at the storage ring TSR of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg will be discussed.