Research course

Laboratory Astrophysics

Open University · School of Physical Sciences

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 or equivalent in Physics, Chemistry or a related subject

Months of entry


Course content

Our research is in experimental molecular physics, with specific application to astrophysical environments. We are particularly interested in ices (molecules in the solid phase) in space - such as the icy mantles which coat microscopic dust grains that make up the vast clouds of dust and gas from which stars and planets form, as well as ice-covered planetary bodies in our Solar System. Since we cannot grab a handful of ice from space, we simulate astrophysical environments in the laboratory and carry out systematic investigations to unravel their physical and chemical properties. We use in situ techniques to learn about their structure and composition and subject them to various types of processing, simulating cosmic rays and stellar winds, to learn about the molecular interactions that lead to the formation of complex organic molecules. This work is pivotal to understanding how the molecular building blocks of life are formed in space and goes hand-in-hand with astronomical observations.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 858253