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Rafael Martín Doménech

Center for Astrophysics
Postdoctoral Fellow

About

After getting a bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering, I studied a master degree in Astrophysics. I was attracted by this field and ended up getting a PhD in Astrophysics in 2017.
As a Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Associate at the Center for Astrophysics I am a member of The Öberg Astrochemistry Group. My current research is focused on the chemical processes that take place in the Interstellar Medium (ISM) and the star-forming regions in particular. The interstellar chemical processes are able to build some molecular complexity that is subsequently incorporated into planet-forming disks, and could have contributed to the formation of life on Earth and other planets.
My approach to Astrochemistry is both experimental and observational. At the laboratory, I simulate the energetic processing of ice samples analog to the ice mantles that are grown on the surface of dust grains in the coldest regions of the ISM. These experiments are performed under astrophysical relevant conditions, and teach us how chemistry evolves during the early stages of star-formation.
At the same time, I analyze observations of star-forming regions, where protostars are able to desorb the energetically processed ice mantles in the inner regions of the protostellar envelopes. The molecules present in the gas-phase of the envelopes emit radiation in the millimeter and sub-millimeter region of the spectrum, that can be collected by radio-telescope arrays such as ALMA.

PhD in Astrophysics