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Physics of the interstellar medium

The team Matière Interstellaire (Interstellar Matter) gathers experts on observation and modelling of the Interstellar Medium (ISM) working on the evolution cycle of matter in galaxies, from the diffuse ISM to the dense regions where star formation occurs. The members of the team use ground and space based observation facilities to study the gas and dust emission of the ISM. The team was built around the expertise in the data analysis of space missions (ISO, IRAS, Spitzer, Planck, Herschel). It then developped a recognized expertise on modelling, especially of interstellar dust (extinction, emission) and of the gas emission from photo-dominated regions.

Main research topics:

  • Nature and evolution of interstellar grains : understand and characterize dust evolution from diffuse to dense regions of the ISM (coagulation, fragmentation by collision or radiation), modelling of dust emission and extinction.
  • Radiation-matter interaction in star forming regions : understand the impact of radiation from young stars on the structure of the ISM, on the associated star formation and on the thermal and chemical evolution of interstellar matter.
  • Physics of the gas, formation of structures and evolution of galaxies : understand the physical processes involved in the formation of dense structures and in the evolution of the diffuse ISM in galaxies (gravity, turbulence, thermal instability, stellar feedback).
  • Polarization and magnetic field : study the properties of the interstellar magnetic field and understand its role in shaping the density structure of the ISM, model polarized dust emission in the context of the quest for the B-mode of the CMB.
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