Thesis title: Prestellar cores, the first step towards the molecular complexity.

Supervisor: Prof. Charlotte Vastel (University Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3 - IRAP)

Recruitment Institution: University Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3 - IRAP, France

Doctoral School: University Paul Sabatier Toulouse 3, France

Mobility: The ESR will spend 6 months at INAF (Observatory of Florence, Italy) to work under the supervision of Dr. F. Fontani.

Eligibility: European and non-European students who not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, ect.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.

Thesis description:

Interstellar ices are mainly composed by simple hydrogenated molecules (H2O, NH3, CH4, CH3OH plus CO and CO2). They are formed during the prestellar core phase and represent the first step towards the molecular complexity. Evidence is mounting that their composition highly influences the fate of the future protostar and, eventually, of the final planetary system. Yet, a systematic study on the molecular composition of prestellar cores is still missing.

The thesis project aims to provide a census of the chemical composition of prestellar cores, its spatial distribution, and how it varies in different environments (isolated versus crowded, warm versus cold objects, etc.). To this end, the ESR will use data obtained from several Large Programs of the group (CHESS with Herschel, ASAI with IRAM-30m, and SOLIS with IRAM-NOEMA) plus new observations gathered by the ESR, and compare them with the predictions of models developed by the ACO team.

The thesis is part of the ACO network, whose ultimate goal is to reconstruct the early history of the Solar System by comparing presently forming solar-type planetary systems with its small bodies. The comparison will be based on the most advanced astrochemical knowledge, which will be developed by the interdisciplinary ACO team.