Laboratory for Atomic and Surface Physics

Research > Radiation of Rocky Surfaces

Ion irradiation of minerals

Current experiments at our laboratory simulate the effect of the solar wind on the surface composition of asteroids and their appearance (spectral reflectance). Low energy ion bombardment results in oxygen loss as determined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (see results in J. Geophys. Res. 104, 1865 (1999)).  Other experiments look at the effect of irradiation on interplanetary and interstellar dust to interpret observations on collected dust which may bring important clues on the origin of our solar system. Recently we have completed research on forsterite and on troilite. See Icarus 195 (2008) 622.

In collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, we have studied in the lab the process of amorphization of interstellar grains. See Astrophysics Journal 662 (2007) 372

Simulation of micrometeorite impacts

We use a nanosecond-pulsed excimer laser to simulate the effect of the impact of hypervelocity (tens of km/s) micrometeorites on surfaces that produce very high temperatures locally at the impact point.   See results in Icarus 196 (2008) 285.