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Astronomy Colloquium: "Investigating the Molecular Complexity in Astronomical Environments through cm to mm wave Spectroscopy"
The utility of broadband, very sensitive, high spectral resolution spectral line surveys in recent years have made profound impacts into the understanding of interstellar reaction processes and in the identification of new molecular material toward astronomical environments. This is in large part a result of recent technological advances in both laboratory instrumentation and radio telescopes. For example, developments in CP-FTMW spectroscopy allow for deep averaging of many GHz of bandwidth on the time scale of several hours. Simultaneously, new technologies at facilities such as the GBT, VLA and ALMA allow for very high sensitivity to be reached over a wide bandwidth on short time scales (e.g. ~5mK rms over 3.2 GHz bandwidth at the GBT). The resulting broadband datasets have a high dynamic range from these facilities, allowing for analysis of both high and low abundance molecules and the ability to ascertain the physical and chemical conditions toward these astronomical regions on a variety of scales. Furthermore, with over 50% of the features in some surveys still unidentified, broadband surveys are uniquely suited to molecular detection, and their utility will only increase as technological developments progress. This talk will highlight the newest results from ongoing spectral line surveys in the cm and mm wavelength regime and the implications for future discoveries from these databases.