Millimetre and Submillimetre Astronomy

The research group uses the millimetre and submillimetre region of the electromagnetic spectrum to investigate various phenomena in the universe. The cosmic background radiation, for example, (“echo of the Big Bang”) is being investigated, as are molecular clouds in the Milky Way and in other galaxies.

Further investigations are concerned with the star formation, the radio emission of stars and with molecular radiation from circumstellar gas envelopes. Additional topics: late stages of star evolution and the galactic centre.

The research group headed the team constructing the APEX sub-millimetre telescope in Chile. The telescope has now been in operation since 2005 in collaboration with the European Southern Observatory and the Onsala Space Observatory, and produces exciting research results. Moreover, the group is working with international partners on the planning and construction of ALMA – a radio telescope array in Chile consisting of 64 individual telescopes.

Research Topics

  • Structure and dynamics of the Milky Way and the local group
  • Molecular clouds in the Milky Way and in external galaxies
  • Formation of stars and star clusters
  • Radio emission from proto-stars and YSOs (Young Stellar Objects)
  • Astrophysical maser and (submillimetre) laser
  • Astro-chemistry / bio-radio astronomy and complex interstellar molecules
  • Molecules in the diffuse interstellar medium / molecules and dust in circumstellar disks
  • Submillimetre investigations of small bodies in the solar system
  • Centre of the Milky Way and its direct vicinity
  • Molecules and megamasers in active galactic nuclei and starburst galaxies
  • Gas and dust at cosmological distances / star formation in the infant universe
  • Gravitational lenses

Research Topics

  • Infrared spectral interferometry with milliarcsecond angular resolution and high spectral resolution
  • Infrared aperture synthesis imaging of young and evolved stars
  • Polarimetry of young stars
  • High-resolution measurements of surface structures on stars, mass loss and dust envelopes of  giants, supergiants and AGB stars
  • Infrared aperture synthesis interferometry of giants and B[e] stars
  • Spectral interferometry and spectroscopy of LBV stars
  • Infrared interferometry with milliarcsecond resolution of AGN tori
  • Development of radiation transport models for the detailed interpretation of interferometric measurements
  • Participation in instrumentation projects: VLTI/AMBER, LBT/LINC-NIRVANA, VLTI/MATISSE and ARGOS for LBT


Go to Editor View