The Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM) is an institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) (Spanish National Research Council) founded in December 1986, that belongs to the Area of Science and Technology of Materials, one of the eight Areas in which the CSIC divides its research activities.


Our mission is to create new fundamental and applied knowledge in materials of high technological impact, their processing and their transfer to the productive sectors at local, national and European scales (the true value of materials is in their use), the training of new professionals, and the dissemination of the scientific knowledge.

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Forthcoming Events


Graphene as a membrane: mechanical properties
Cristina Gómez Navarro  read more


Global Science: Exploring the Chemistry and Applications of Metal-Organic Frameworks throughout the World
Kyle E. Cordova  read more


Non-planar Nanostructures at Atomic Scale
Jordi Arbiol  read more


Protagonistas de la ciencia, charla con Pilar López Sancho del ICMM.

Read more


Curso: Nanotecnología: un campo profesional con futuro.

Abierta inscripción hasta finales de septiembre. Read more


Compression and ablation of the photo-irradiated molecular cloud the Orion Bar

Javier R. Goicoechea, Jérôme Pety, Sara Cuadrado, José Cernicharo, Edwige Chapillon, Asunción Fuente, Maryvonne Gerin, Christine Joblin, Nuria Marcelino & Paolo Pilleri

The Orion Bar is the archetypal edge-on molecular cloud surface illuminated by strong ultraviolet radiation from nearby massive stars. Our relative closeness to the Orion nebula (about 1,350 light years away from Earth) means that we can study the effects of stellar feedback on the parental cloud in detail. Visible-light observations of the Orion Bar1 show that the transition between the hot ionized gas and the warm neutral atomic gas (the ionization front) is spatially well separated from the transition between atomic and molecular gas (the dissociation front), by about 15 arcseconds or 6,200 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is the Earth–Sun distance). Static equilibrium models2,3 used to interpret previous far-infrared and radio observations of the neutral gas in the Orion Bar4-6 (typically at 10-20 arcsecond resolution) predict an inhomogeneous cloud structure comprised of dense clumps embedded in a lower-density extended gas component. Here we report one-arcsecond-resolution millimetre-wave images that allow us to resolve the molecular cloud surface. In contrast to stationary model predictions7-9, there is no appreciable offset between the peak of the H2 vibrational emission (delineating the H/H2 transition) and the edge of the observed CO and HCO+ emission. This implies that the H/H2 and C+/C/CO transition zones are very close. We find a fragmented ridge of high-density substructures, photoablative gas flows and instabilities at the molecular cloud surface. The results suggest that the cloud edge has been compressed by a high-pressure wave that is moving into the molecular cloud, demonstrating that dynamical and non-equilibrium effects are important for the cloud evolution.

Nature 2016

Figure 1 | Multiphase view of the Orion nebula and molecular cloud. a, Overlay of the HCO+ J = 3–2 emission (red) tracing the extended Orion molecular cloud. The hot ionized gas surrounding the Trapezium stars is shown by the [SII] 6,731 Å emission (green). The interfaces between the ionized and the neutral gas, the ionization fronts, are traced by the [OII] 6,300 Å emission (blue). Both lines were imaged with VLT/MUSE15. The size of the image is approximately 5.8' × 4.6'. BN/KL, Becklin–Neugebauer/Kleinmann–Low star-forming region. b, Close-up of the Orion Bar region imaged with ALMA in the HCO+ J = 4–3 emission (red). The black region is the atomic layer.

Publications Highlights

ICMM-2016 - Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 3, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain. Tel: +34 91 334 9000. Fax: +34 91 372 0623. info@icmm.csic.es