Exploring cosmic dust with Monte Carlo techniques
Thesis Supervisor: Ralf Siebenmorgen
During their travel through the cosmos from stars to us, photons are scattered, polarised, absorbed, and re-emitted by dust particles. Dust surrounds various object types such as comets, young stellar objects, proto-planetary or debris disks, supernovae, and more so, extra-galactic objects, starburst galaxies, active galactic nuclei, and gamma ray bursts.
Dust is also an important component of the interstellar and extra-galactic medium, the full characterisation of which is of crucial importance to understand the chemical history of the universe and various fundamental astrophysical processes. Recent advances in computer technology enables the use of efficient Monte Carlo techniques to study the transport of radiation in arbitrary three-dimensional geometry for polarised or unpolarised light through a dusty medium. The goal of this PhD project is to study and explore the physics of the dust applying such MC treatments that shall be compared to existing archival and new observations of the ISM obtained with various instruments. This is a timely project to support understanding of new data obtained with our modern instrumentation that are available at the VLT, ALMA, and SOFIA, Planck, and to simulate new science case for future instrumentation projects such as METIS of ESO's Extre mely Large Telescope (ELT).