Capturing electrons in space

Interstellar clouds are the birthplaces of new stars, but they also play an important role in the origins of life in the Universe through regions of dust and gas in which chemical compounds form. The research group, molecular systems, led by ERC prize winner Roland Wester at the Institute for ion physics and applied physics at the University of Innsbruck, has set itself the task of better understanding the development of elementary molecules in space. "Put simply, our ion trap allows us to recreate the conditions in space in our laboratory," explains Roland Wester. "This apparatus allows us to study the formation of chemical compounds in detail." The scientists working with Roland Wester have now found an explanation for how negatively charged molecules form in space.