Press Clipping: JILA Fellow Heather Lewandowski's research highlighted in "Space Daily"

A collage of stellar phenomena 

Image Credit
Space Daily

JILA Fellow and University of Colorado Physics Professor Heather Lewandowski's novel research has recently been showcased in Space Daily. The article, penned by Clarence Oxford, delves into Lewandowski's innovative experiments with cold Coulomb crystals to explore the chemical dynamics of the Interstellar Medium (ISM)—a complex blend of atoms, ions, and molecules that fill the space between stars.

Lewandowski's work, conducted alongside her former graduate student Olivia Krohn, highlights the sophisticated interplay of chemistry, physics, and astronomy needed to decipher the ISM's secrets. Their research, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A, employs Coulomb crystals—cold pseudo-crystalline structures formed by ions in a trap—to mimic the conditions of the ISM and observe key ion-neutral molecule reactions.

The experiments conducted by the Lewandowski group are particularly notable for their precision in replicating ISM conditions through laser cooling and mass spectrometry. The team meticulously controls quantum states to simulate ISM chemical reactions, shedding light on complex ion-neutral interactions that are pivotal to understanding the composition of interstellar space.