Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Andrew Mattioda

Reader 2

Babak Sanii

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Rights Information

© 2018 Julie M Korsmeyer


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the most abundant large organic molecules in space. They are thought to be the main contributor to the unidentified infrared (UIR) emission bands from the interstellar medium (ISM) for several reasons: UIR intensities correspond to carbon abundance, indicating the presence of a carbon-based molecule; UIRs are found in extremely harsh environments which means the source must be a stable molecule. The most important evidence is if the bands in mid-infrared (MIR) or 'fingerprint' region match those of PAHs. Through the infrared spectroscopy of matrix-isolated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons a compound's unique neutral and ionized vibrational modes can be identified. In this work, the PAH anthracoronene (AntCor, C36H18) is suspended in a matrix of water-ice, irradiated with ultraviolet (UV) light, and then analyzed using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. AntCor has not been studied in water ice before, and therefore the vibrational transition data collected (i.e. band positions and intensities) has been compared to coronene and anthracene, the parent molecules, and with theoretical predictions made using density functional theory. The data from this work will be incorporated into the NASA Ames PAH IR Database, where it will be applied to astronomical observations of the unidentified infrared emissions of the ISM, as well as observations of infrared absorption features in dense molecular clouds.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.