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The hydrogen signature as a repository of knowledge in astrophysics –

Researchers from the University of Kassel have created a complete spectral profile of molecular hydrogen. The global spectroscopic picture of the future will enable astrophysics to more accurately explore processes in space. The university is currently displaying this project and its possibilities in “Wissensspeicher” in the center of Kassel. Press release from the University of Kassel.

Source: University of Kassel August 2, 2022.

Mr. Dr. Arno Ehrlichsmann in front of a PhexPhem map of hydrogen spectra. (Photo: University of Kassel)

August 2, 2022 – Particles interact with light also in the universe. We can receive and evaluate their signals, the so-called emission spectra, using telescopes on Earth. The central research element in astronomy is the hydrogen molecule: the data from its spectra received on Earth can be used, for example, to study the formation and evolution of stars, the atmospheres of planets and various astrochemical processes.

But in order to be able to evaluate data from space, you first have to know hydrogen well. So researchers from the Institute of Physics and the Interdisciplinary Center for Nanostructure Science and Technology at the University of Kassel are systematically collecting relevant data on the fundamental properties of the hydrogen molecule. They presented their experimental method and first results in the journal Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, including a new representation of the spectra as a two-dimensional map, which greatly simplifies orientation in the complex hydrogen emission spectrum.

In the experiments, researchers excited molecular hydrogen with monochromatic synchrotron radiation in order to transfer it to different energy states. They recorded the light emission that followed, covering the full range of ultraviolet and far ultraviolet rays. About 20,000 individual spectra led to the so-called two-dimensional PhexPhem map. In the future, it should serve as a basis for comparison for astrophysicists to be able to assess the spectra of hydrogen from space – from the data received, researchers can then deduce the states assumed by hydrogen in space, but also the causes of hydrogen’s exciting radiation field.

“This representation of our data has the potential to turn it into molecular physics textbooks. The PhexPhem map is a repository of knowledge in the truest sense of the word, with which researchers around the world can work to decipher the details of our universe,” says Professor D. Arno Ehrlichmann, research group leader.

The group’s research project on Ehrlichmann is part of the University of Kassel’s knowledge repository (Königsgalerie, Florentiner Platz entry). The exhibition project Wissensspeicher is a presentation that demonstrates the diversity of research and teaching at the University of Kassel during the summer of the documentary. For this concept, KasselTransfer University’s Transportation Facility takes a metaphor for the 15th document of the year: Lumbung – the Indonesian term for a shared rice storage facility in which the harvest is provided to and shared by the village community. “This fits perfectly with the basic idea of ​​science to create new discoveries and innovations, which you then share with the community,” says Daniel Ober, president of UniKasselTransfer.

University knowledge repository
From July 20 to August 21 at the Königsgalerie / in Florentiner Platz, admission is free. Opening times and more information at: