|Abstract:||Methanol, a ubiquitous molecule in the interstellar medium (ISM), has an important role in the production of more complex organic molecules (COMs) in both grain-surface and gas-phase interstellar chemistry. Some of the direct products of methanol photolysis, including radicals such as methoxy, hydroxymethyl, hydroxyl, and methyl, are believed to directly influence the relative abundances of important COMs that are both detected and theorized to be in the ISM. However, no laboratory study has been performed to date which has determined the individual branching ratios of these photolysis products, because many of the channels cannot be distinguished using traditional techniques. _x000d_
To address this problem, we used a 193 nm excimer laser to photolyze methanol in the throat of a supersonic expansion, and probed the resultant products using a millimeter/submillimeter direct absorption spectrometer. Each product channel has a unique rotational spectrum, allowing quantitative density and temperature information to be determined. This information can in turn be used to calculate the full set of branching ratios for methanol photolysis. In this talk we will present the results of this experiment and discuss the implications for astrochemistry.