The WG2 expert meeting of XLIC COST Action (CM1204) Energetic Processing of Large Interstellar Molecules took place in Leiden (the Netherlands) at the Lorentz Center. The meeting was co-organized and co-sponsored with the Lorentz Center, the NWO Dutch Astrochemistry Network (DAN), and the Dutch Top Research School NOVA.


The organizers/chairs of the meeting were professors R. Hoekstra (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), H. Cederquist (Stockholm University, Sweden), and A.G.G.M. Tielens (Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands).

The expert meeting aimed at overviewing the state of the art in experimental and theoretical studies on energetic processing of large molecules by ions and photons and the implications for the evolution of astrophysically relevant molecules. The fields of expertise of the participants therefore covered molecular physics, physical chemistry, and astronomy. It included molecular physicists involved in laboratory or quantum chemical studies on the interaction of energetic ions or photons with large molecules and astronomers involved in studies of the origin and evolution of large molecules in space.

The specific objective of the workshop was to identify and initiate joint experimental, theoretical, and observational studies with the aim of understanding energetic processing of large molecules of astrophysical relevance, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as carbon chains, and fullerenes.

To facilitate the identification of joint challenges across scientific disciplinary borders, the program started off by talks which introduced the mutual subfields to the participants highlighting the key questions, challenges, and opportunities. These introductory talks were given by Els Peeters, Nigel Mason and Franck Lépine. Four half-day topical sessions of 3 or 4 invited talks provided an in-depth view into the four directions of: “Large molecules in space“, “Molecular processes and structure“, “Particle interactions“, and “Photonic interactions“. For the full program see the attached meeting schedule. Each topical session was concluded by a plenary discussion in which specific points were further clarified and challenges for future research. The discussion sessions were very lively. The very high, overall degree of participation was inspired by the excellent talks and the scaffolding of the Lorentz center which is fully geared to the creation of an inspiring, informal, academic environment and atmosphere for open discussions.

The ample time left in the schedule for informal “splinter” discussions led to a further scientific cross-fertilization. In the concluding session, many topics for concerted research efforts were discussed and generic, prototypeical molecular systems identified that should serve as linking pin systems in projects involving members of the two networks, represented by XLIC and the astronomy network.

It was decided to have a successor meeting on Energetic Processing of Large Molecules (EPoLM-2, April 11-13, 2016). EPoLM-2 will be held in conjunction with the XLIC Stockholm meeting which runs from April 13-15.

The organisers:

Ronnie Hoekstra,
Henrik Cederquist, and
Xander Tielens

Related links:

WG2 Expert Meeting on Large Interstellar Molecules  (Netherlands, May2015) – Program Meeting web site – List of Participants

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