Research

PHYSICS, ATOMIC, MOLECULAR & CHEMICAL

The group mainly performs high-resolution spectral analysis of astrophysical sources (e.g. stars) with different ages, chemical structures and physical parameters (temperature, gravitational acceleration, metal abundance) at different stages of their evolution. Some of the stars analysed are responsible for the chemical composition and evolution of our Galaxy. 

The starlight is recorded using special optical systems with the help of special instruments called spectrometers and CCD detectors mounted on large telescopes. The stellar spectra obtained with CCD detectors are made available for scientific analysis after stages of analysis that require mathematical calculations and modelling. At this stage, the laws of optics are extensively used to qualify the spectra as scientific data. 

For the spectral atomic and molecular transitions detected in the spectra in the form of absorption or emission, we use the laws and basic principles of atomic and molecular physics. Atomic and molecular databases containing thousands of atomic and molecular transitions are used to identify the measured lines. In this context, researchers specialising in stellar astrophysics / spectroscopy must have the theoretical and experimental knowledge of an atomic physicist. Spectroscopic analysis also requires a basic knowledge of quantum physics. In fact, the emergence of quantum physics was due to the ability to explain the absorption lines detected in the spectrum during the analysis of the solar spectrum. In other words, most of the physical sciences owe their current position to astrophysical studies. 

The atomic and molecular transitions measured and identified in the spectrum are subjected to some specific measurements in order to be converted into chemical abundances after a computationally intensive modelling process that requires the solution of the radiative transfer equation under predominantly local thermodynamic conditions.

For each star analysed, it opens a unique window on the galaxy in which it is located. The Sun, our source of heat and light, will undergo a chemical evolution similar to that of other stars, and this process will have an impact that will change the dynamics of the Solar System over a long period of time.

Stars are the source of many of the heavy elements in our bloodstream. It does not seem possible that the vast majority of the heavy nuclei we encounter on Earth could have formed on Earth. This is because our Earth, at no stage in its evolution, has been able to reach the temperatures that would allow the formation of these heavy nuclei. As the undergraduate and postgraduate students and young researchers in our group begin to grasp this unifying role of astronomy and astrophysics within the basic sciences, their interest in the field and the science increases.

Astronomy and Astrophysics is a process of discovery that shows how physics and mathematics can be used effectively together and in harmony, with the help of the possibilities it offers in the field of stellar spectroscopy. 

Hey young researchers!...
If you want to be part of this process of discovery, we welcome you to the Department of Space Sciences and Technologies within the Faculty of Science.

PHYSICS, MULTIDISCIPLINARY

Physics, Multidisciplinary covers resources having a general or interdisciplinary approach to physics. This category also includes theoretical and experimental physics as well as special topics that have relevance to many areas of physics.

ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS

Astronomy and Astrophysics is an active research field that utilizes mainly Physics and Mathematics to understand the physical nature of celestial bodies, their positions and motions, their chemical structures, evolution, and in general their physical nature.  It makes use of universe itself as laboratory to allows us to test physical laws in every pressure, temperature and density regimes without  the need for a clean room.