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Pranjal Samarth

I am a PhD student under InterCat at Leiden University studying the pathways towards molecular complexity in the interstellar medium through UV irradiation experiments.

I started as an INTERCAT PhD student at Leiden Observatory on April 1st, 2021. In the Laboratory for Astrophysics - www.laboratory-astrophysics.eu - I will study the pathways towards molecular complexity in the interstellar medium through UV irradiation experiments using MATRI2CES, a setup that allows studying interstellar ices using laser desorption time-of-flight mass spectrometry. I will work together with Dr. KoJu Chuang and Prof. Harold Linnartz.  

In 2019, I completed my Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from VIT University (Vellore, India). During my bachelor's, I interned under the supervision of Dr. Bhalamurugan Sivaraman (PRL, India) in beam-line setups at the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) in Taiwan and the Aarhus University (ASTRID-2) in Denmark. During my internships, I studied the interaction of Ultraviolet (VUV) radiation with organic molecules of prebiotic interests.

Apart from beam-line experiments, I also worked with high-pressure driven shock tubes. I have operated the shock tubes at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Physical Research laboratory (PRL) in India, where we studied the impact of shock waves generated by meteorite impacts on Earth during the late heavy bombardment period, with relevant organic mixtures. My bachelor's thesis, supervised by Prof. Muruganandam Loganathan was on the interaction of shock waves with organic molecules and industry-relevant chemicals. 

In 2020, I completed my Master of Science in Space Studies at the International Space University (Strasbourg, France). During my Master's, I interned at KEEY Aerogel to study the novel uses of silica-based Aerogel in Space and continued my work with shock tubes under the supervision of Prof. Hugh Hill. 

PhD student



Niels Bohrweg 2, 2333 CA Leiden

The Netherlands