The Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM) is an institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) (Spanish National Research Council) founded in December 1986, that belongs to the Area of Science and Technology of Materials, one of the eight Areas in which the CSIC divides its research activities.


Our mission is to create new fundamental and applied knowledge in materials of high technological impact, their processing and their transfer to the productive sectors at local, national and European scales (the true value of materials is in their use), the training of new professionals, and the dissemination of the scientific knowledge.

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Forthcoming Events


Strong hybridization of plasmons with charge-transfer modes in subnanometric cavities

Pablo García González  read more


La ciencia en la televisión del futuro
Graziella Almendral   read more


Viscosity of 2D Topological Phases
Barry Bradlyn  read more

Detecting the building blocks of aromatics

Christine Joblin and José Cernicharo

Interstellar clouds are sites of active organic chemistry (1). Many small, gasphase molecules are found in the dark parts of the clouds that are protected from ultraviolet (UV) photons, but these molecules photodissociate in the external layers of the cloud that are exposed to stellar radiation (see the photo). These irradiated regions are populated by large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with characteristic infrared (IR) emission features. These large aromatics are expected to form from benzene (C6H6), which is, however, difficult to detect because it does not have a permanent dipole moment and can only be detected via its IR absorption transitions against a strong background source (2). On page 202 of this issue, McGuire et al. (3) report the detection of benzonitrile (c-C6H5CN) with radio telescopes. Benzonitrile likely forms in the reaction of CN with benzene; from its observation, it is therefore possible to estimate the abundance of benzene itself.


Molecular clouds such as the Cone Nebula have dark interiors and UV-irradiated outer regions, each populated by large hydrocarbons with possibly interrelated chemistries.

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