Presentation #222.01 in the session “Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD): Astrochemistry”.
Over the past few decades, advances in observational astronomy – particularly at infrared through radio wavelengths – have led to extraordinary scientific breakthroughs, and images with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution, both spatial and spectral. Given the myriad atomic and molecular features present in these electromagnetic windows, such advances place stringent demands on laboratory astrophysics. Here I will highlight how key advances flow back and forth between the lab (and theory) and the telescope, with a special focus on emerging tools that utilize the coherence properties of ultrafast lasers to enable a new generation of experimental tools that can address key needs in (mostly molecular) astrophysics. On the observational side, the motivating examples will be taken from the role that astrochemistry plays in our understanding of the origins of stars and planetary systems, especially how the chemistry of life-essential elements (specifically C, N, O, S) contributes to habitability.