Laboratory astrophysics and astrochemistry are emerging fields highlighting the importance of laboratory simulations and experiments to benefit remote observations. In particular, ice mixtures found in the outer solar system may offer insight into the early evolution of organic molecules. H2O-ice mixtures containing other species such as NH3, CH3OH, CH4, CO2, etc. also provide interesting research avenues to explore via IR absorption spectroscopy towards building a laboratory database astronomers can use. As such, the astrochemistry laboratory at USC Aiken strives to fill this niche while fostering a rich environment for undergraduate research. Constructing such a laboratory environment, particularly one that emphasizes undergraduate research, is nevertheless difficult. In this article, procedures for obtaining, building, and operating new equipment are discussed, along with crafting a suitable learning environment for students.

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