Studies of the interstellar medium and the radio continuum provide key information about the physical and chemical processes which drive the evolution of galaxies. Observations in the sub-millimeter wavelength regime, as provided by APEX and Herschel, are in particular critical as they trace the cold gas reservoir – the material from which new generations of stars are born. The relations between the chemical and physical properties of the cold molecular gas and star formation are key research areas of our group.
In the coldest phase of the interstellar medium is mainly molecular. Observations of molecular emission lines and radiation from dust grains allow us to measure the gas kinematics, cooling balance and chemical composition of the molecular clouds.
The environment in which cold clouds reside largely affects their capabilities to form stars. Observations of nearby galaxies probe the full scale of conditions met in the local universe and therefore provide important clues to interpret the star formation and galaxy evolution in the early universe. [more]