NANOCOSMOS post-doctoral position at the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC, Madrid, Spain) in the field of laboratory astrophysics and surface science

Within the framework of the ERC-Synergy “Nanocosmos” project, we are seeking a senior post-doctoral researcher to work on: “Laboratory astrophysics simulation experiments using the Stardust machine”.

The candidate should have a strong expertise in some of the following fields: Laboratory Astrophysics, Surface Science (fundamentals and techniques), Ultra-High Vacuum systems (use and engineering), nanoparticle growth and solid-phase Physical-Chemistry. A good record of publications in peer-reviewed journals is a strong asset. The successful candidate will participate in on-going operations of the Stardust machine, being an interface between astrophysicists and surface scientists. The applicant must have an excellent knowledge in English, both written and spoken. The position will be filled for a fixed term of 2 years with a possible renewal until the end of the project in July 2020. The starting date of the position will be as soon as possible.

Applications. If you are interested in this position, please submit your CV together with a motivation letter and a recommendation letter, ALL IN ONE SINGLE PDF FILE, at the latest by the 15th of October, to: Prof. J. A. Martín-Gago (gago at

The “Stardust” machine is an innovative experimental station devoted to the production, processing and in-situ analysis of any type of cluster or nanoparticle made up to three different materials by means of a scaled-up multiple ion cluster source, in a highly controlled ultra-high vacuum environment. Stardust has been designed to simulate the complex conditions of cosmic-dust formation and processing in the circumstellar region of evolved stars and supernova.

More information available at:

Salary. The salary of the position is determined in accordance with the salary system of CSIC (Spain National Research Council) which amounts between €36.000/€40.000 gross in 14 instalments. In addition, funds for travel and allowance to conferences and workshops are covered up by the project.

ECLA2016 conference ready to go!!

From next Monday 21 till Friday 25, the European Conference on Laboratory Astrophysics (ECLA2016 – Gas on the Rocks) will take place at the CSIC headquarters in Madrid. The opening act will be led by the president of CSIC, Emilio Lora-Tamayo, together with the Director of the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC). Federico Soria, and José Cernicharo (SOC chair), Christine Joblin (SOC co-chair) and Isabel Tanarro (LOC chair).

More than 170 scientists worldwide (astrophysicists, physicists, chemists and engineers) will address the state of the art in laboratory astrophysics within the context of new exciting astrophysical data. In order to achieve a closer collaboration in the analysis and interpretation of astrophysical and laboratory data, nearly 80 talks and 90 posters will be presented at the conference.

A dedicated press room will be available at the conference webpage. Several scientists will be interviewed to show the general public how science can improve our current understanding on fundamental questions such as the formation of planetary systems and molecular complexity in Space as well as the interrelation between technological developments and top laboratory studies to address these fundamental questions.

Stay tuned!!

NANOCOSMOS at the Guillermo Haro School on Molecular Astrophysics (Puebla, Mexico)

Prof. José Cernicharo has been awarded with the Guillermo Haro Visiting Professorship 2016 at the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE, posterGH16Puebla, Mexico). Following this award, INAOE has organized the Guillermo Haro School on Molecular Astrophysics (October 11 – 21, 2016). Several NANOCOSMOS scientists (Asunción Fuente from CNIG-IGN, Nuria Marcelino, José Pablo Fonfría and Luis Velilla from ICMM-CSIC) will give lectures on the following topics:

  • Molecular Astrophysics, Spectroscopy, Chemistry in the ISM (José Cernicharo)
  • Physical and chemical processes in the ISM, Protoplanetary disks (Asunción Fuente)
  • Observational methods and interpretation (Nuria Marcelino)
  • Molecular excitation and radiative transfer, Circumstellar medium (José Pablo Fonfría)
  • Chemistry in the circumstellar medium, atmospheric  effects and calibration (Luis Velilla)

José Cernicharo will give a public talk in Puebla downtown on Thursday 13: “Moléculas en el espacio: Astroquímica”.

NANOCOSMOS on top: Press releases from Nature´s “Compression and ablation of the photo-irradiated molecular cloud the Orion Bar”

The paper “Compression and ablation of the photo-irradiated molecular cloud the Orion Bar” (Goicoechea et al. 2016) recently published in Nature, has put Astrochemistry and NANOCOSMOS in the leading edge forefront of many research institutIons, newspapers and mass media. A few examples can be found below:

ESO Picture of the week


L´Observatoire de Paris

Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM)

Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP)

ALMA news

El Mundo newspaper

ABC newspaper

La Vanguardia newspaper

El diario newspaper


Nature paper led by NANOCOSMOS members

The Nature Journal published yesterday a paper entitled “Compression and ablation of the photo-irradiated molecular cloud the Orion Bar”, led and with the participation of several members of our group.

One-arcsecond-resolution millimetre-wave images taken with ALMA enable the ‘skin’ of the Orion molecular cloud to be resolved. The stunning images reveal a fragmented ridge of high-density filamentary substructures, photoablative gas flows and instabilities that suggest that the cloud edge has been compressed by a high-pressure wave expanding into the molecular cloud. These results are in contrast to predictions from static equilibrium models and reveal a very dynamic UV-irradiated cloud edge.

Link to the paper: Compression and ablation of the photo-irradiated molecular cloud the Orion Bar. Nature Letters. Doi: 10.1038/nature18957


Prof. Christine Joblin awarded the Legion of Honour

Christine Joblin, one of the NANOCOSMOS project PIs, has been awarded chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour for her public service and professional activities with eminent merits in scientific research both at the national and international levels. cjoblin_legion_honourChristine Joblin is a research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in l’Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP, Université Toulouse 3).

You can read the full press release (in French).

Congrats Christine!!!

NANOCOSMOS at the 1st Chilean-Spanish School on Astrochemistry

The 1st Chilean-Spanish School on Astrochemistry has just begun this week at the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional de Cerro Galán, located in Santiago (Republic of Chile).  The school is organized by the Universidad de Chile, Universidad Autónoma de Chile and the Group ofGroup_photo_Chile_School Molecular Astrophysics at the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC).

Six spanish researchers take part in the school (José Cernicharo, head of the Group of Molecular Astrophysics at ICMM-CSIC, Javier R. Goicoechea, Marcelino Agúndez, Belén Tercero, all from ICMM-CSIC, together with Asunción Fuente, astronomer at the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional in Spain and Carlos Cabezas, researcher at the Universidad de Valladolid).

The school will consist of several conferences on astronomical instrumentation, observational techniques and methods to derive the physical conditions in the Interstellar Medium. Several workshops will be held on molecular spectroscopy, theoretical calculations and chemical modelling.

Link to the school webpage: 1ª Escuela Hispano-Chilena de Astroquímica

Link to “La Nación” newspaper article: “Primera Escuela Chilena de Astroquímica inicia actividades


A “nano-constellation” story at the ICMM

The commissioning of the Multiple Ion Cluster Source (MICS), one of the four modules of the Stardust machine, is ongoing at the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC). The MICS module will be capable to control the chemical composition as well as the size of the produced nanoparticles.

As part of the commissioning, first successful tests have been made with the production of copper and iron nanoparticles. Dr. Lidia Martínez, one of the postdoctoral researchers in charge of the commissioning at the NANOCOSMOS team, has taken the first sample image of iron nanoparticles (top image). Just a bit of photo retouching and the image in the center resembles that at the bottom, the Ursa Major constellation. Stars and nanoparticles hand in hand.

The first “nano-constellation” at the laboratory!!!

The first “nano-constellation” at the laboratory

ECLA 2016 – webpage open


The second announcement of the European Conference on Laboratory Astrophysics – “Gas on the Rocks” – ECLA 2016 has been issued today.  This conference will be held at the CSIC headquarters (Madrid, Spain) in November 21 – 25, 2016. The webpage is open with all the relevant information.

More than 30 invited researchers will address new insights on the following science topics:

  • Comets, asteroids, meteorites and the primitive Solar System nebula: formation and evolution
  • Protoplanetary disks and planet formation
  • Planet, Moon, and exoplanet surfaces and atmospheres
  • The signatures of the evolving interstellar medium
  • Dense Clouds: the gas-ice interface and molecular complexity
  • Chemical fingerprints of star formation
  • The late stages of star evolution: dust formation
  • Supernovae and shocks: high-energy processing of matter