The Öberg Astrochemistry Group


In the Öberg Astrochemistry group we explore the origins of chemical complexity in space and how these processes affect star and planet formation and especially the bulk and organic compositions of young planets.

We also investigate the inverse processes, i.e. how the chemistry is affected by different astrophysical processes and how spatially and spectrally resolved observations of molecular lines can be used to probe star and planet formation. The research comprises laboratory experiments, aimed at simulating the chemistry and physics of interstellar grain mantles, radio and infrared observations (often at high spatial resolution), and astrochemical theory.



Sep 27 2016: Watch Karin discuss ALMA at the Smithsonian Channel

Aug 18 2016: Welcome (back) Jamila Pegues to the astrochemistry group!

June 15 2016: Methyl alcohol found in nearby planet forming disk! Press release here

April 27 2016: Congratulations Dr. Ana-Maria Piso on a successful Ph.D. thesis defense!

Jan 15 2016: AAS awards Karin the Newton Lacy Pierce Price

Sep 1 2015: Welcome Ilse Cleeves and Ellen Price to the astrochemistry group!

May 26 2015: Congratulations Jodi Balfe on winning the Goldberg and Hoopes prizes for her senior thesis!

May 14 2015: Congratulations Dawn for winning the poster prize at the IAU Symposium 314: Young Stars and Planets near the Sun

April 8 2015: First complex molecule detected in a protoplanetary disk! Check out the Nature paper reporting the results, the accompanying News and Views, the NRAO  press release, and some media coverage here, here and here (på svenska). (Image credit Bill Saxton /NSF /AUI /NRAO)


Science in focus:

Organic salts in interstellar ices

The interstellar medium (the dust and gas found between stars) presents a rich chemistry including complex organic molecules such as the recently discovered chiral molecule propylene oxide. How such large molecules can form at the low temperatures found in space is an unsolved problem in astrochemistry. One promising pathway is through organic salts in interstellar ices. Through laboratory experiments, Jennifer Bergner recently showed that ammonium salts readily form at low (10 K) temperatures, as long as re-orientation and diffusion barriers can be overcome. Read the full paper here.

Concentric rings of DCO+ in the IM Lup disk

With the help of ALMA we discovered two spectacular rings of DCO+ in the disk around young Solar-type star IM Lup. Understanding deuterium chemistry during planet formation is key to develop isotopic compositions of volatiles as a probe of volatile origins in the Solar System. Read the full paper here.