INTERSTELLAR POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS: OBSERVATIONAL AND LABORATORY INSIGHTS

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2005

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Ohio State University

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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are usually considered as the carriers of the Aromatic Infrared Bands observed in emission between 3.3 and 12.7\,$\mu$m. However, individual species of this family have not yet been identified. I will describe two strategies that are being used to progress in this identification process.\\ {\bf Firstly, the search for features at longer wavelengths that are much more specific to the exact molecular identity.} This is now possible thanks to spectra from the Infrared Space Observatory and the coming data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. This will also be a goal for the Herschel Space Observatory which will explore the far-IR range. The very high resolution of the HIFI instrument will provide a unique opportunity to resolve the rotational structure of the bands associated with the floppy modes of these large molecules.\\ {\bf Secondly, a reflexion on where interstellar PAHs come from and how they evolve due to environmental conditions (UV irradiation, gas and dust interactions).} The PIRENEA set-up has been designed to specifically address these questions. I will show how the study of the photodissociation and reactivity of PAHs in conditions which approach those of astronomical objects can give insights into the nature of interstellar PAH candidates.

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Author Institution: CESR, CNRS-Universite Toulouse III et OMP, BP 4346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 04, France

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