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Experimental Astrophysics

In this research area experiments are carried out to study physical and chemical processes that occur in interstellar space or in planetary atmospheres. Dr. Vidali's group focuses on question regarding the formation of molecular hydrogen and molecues relevant to the formation of life. For more information visit the Astrophysics and Surface Science Research Laboratory Web page.

Astrophysics and Surface Science

Astrophysics: We study the physical and chemical processes that take place in space. Currently, we are studying the formation of molecules in the interstellar medium and in planetary environments. In particular, we are interested in those molecules that are key in understanding the physics and chemical evolution of space environments. As it happens these molecules (hydrogen, water, etc.) form in space on surfaces of dust grains (“stardust”).  Therefore, our research blends astrophysics and surface science. For more details, see the group's webpage  Astrophysics. (

Surface Science: We study the interaction of atoms and molecules with surfaces. We are interested in describing the adsorption, diffusion and desorption processes of particles on solid surfaces. This work is often done on systems of interest to astrophysics and astrochemistry.

Experimental and theoretical studies are conducted in collaboration with colleagues at other institutions. The aim is not only to understand and characterize individual physical/chemical processes, but also to simulate the dynamics and chemical evolution of space environments. Part of this research involves observations using ground-based telescopes.


Gianfranco Vidali

Gianfranco  Vidali 
Professor of