You are here: AU PhD  Graduate Schools Science and Technology Courses and how to sign up Scientific courses Energetic processing of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (2016)

Energetic processing of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (2016)

ECTS credits: 2

Course parameters:
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: Q3 2016 (7 weeks)
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 55 hours
Capacity limits: 15 participants


Objectives of the course:
This course will provide an introduction to the fundamental mechanisms underlying the processing (formation, destruction, isomerization, etc.) of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Interstellar Medium as probed by the latest laboratory and computational methods. This course is intended to provide students with the necessary tools to follow current research in the field of molecular astrophysics involving PAHs. A number of current topics will be picked from the literature to give students a broad overview of PAH processing.


Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Explain the role of PAHs in astrophysics
  • Describe the electronic structure of PAHs and how this interacts with various excitation agents
  • Discuss the role of hydrogenation on the stability and reactivity of PAHs
  • Identify and explain the elementary processes underlying PAH processing in space and the lab
  • Compare unimolecular dissociation versus non-statistical fragmentation
  • To interpret and critique results presented in an assigned articles

Compulsory programme:

Mandatory, active participation in study group (one two-hour meeting per week) including oral presentation of assigned research articles and passing grade on final exam.


Course contents:

  • Astronomical observations and modeling
  • Electronic and infrared spectroscopy
  • X-ray excitation
  • Collisions, mass spectroscopy methods
  • Kinetic theory and molecular dynamics simulations
  • (De-)Hydrogenation and H2-formation
  • Charge transfer, multiple ionization
  • Non-statistical fragmentation

Basic atomic and molecular physics


Name of lecturer:
Mark Stockett


Type of course/teaching methods:
Study group


Recent journal articles


Course homepage:


Course assessment:
Final exam: 30-minute oral presentation to the group synthesizing the results presented in three or more closely related articles.


Department of Physics & Astronomy, Aarhus University


Special comments on this course:


Q3 2016 (7 weeks)


Campus, 8000 Aarhus C



Deadline for registration: Friday, 22 January 2016. 

Please contact Mark Stockett, e-mail:

Comments on content: 
Revised 05.11.2018