AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 41. Polyatomic Molecules in the Diffuse Interstellar Medium
Topical, Oral, Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, Continental Ballroom B

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[41.04] Gas-Electronic Spectra of Carbon Chains - Relevance to Astrophysics

J. P. Maier (Inst. of Physical Chemistry, U. Basel, Switzerland)

Electronic spectra of a number of carbon chain molecules and ions have been observed in the gas-phase. The carbon anions Cn n=4-11 were detected by a two colour excitation-photodetachment approach using a supersonic discharge source. The transitions of the carbon radicals C2nH and the polyacetylene cations HC2nH+, n=3-5, were measured by cavity ring down spectroscopy across a slit jet-discharge. These data provide a direct comparison with astrophysical measurements, in particular of the diffuse interstellar bands DIBs, under similar temperature conditions. The origin and vibronic bands in the electronic spectrum of C7- show striking matches with narrow DIBs, providing the first compelling evidence for the identification of a DIB carrier. The laboratory data on this anion and on the other carbon chains provide a unique opportunity for specific astronomical measurements.

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