Research > Solar System
Effects of ion irradiation in spaceAn important part of our research aims at characterizing and understanding the effect of irradiation with energetic ions, electrons and ultraviolet photons on surfaces in space. We are interested in chemical and optical alterations, erosion, and electrostatic charging.
The magnetosphere of Saturn has ions with much lower average energies than the Jovian magnetosphere. This finding by Cassini was surprising and implied a revision of our understanding of plasma interactions with icy grains and satellites. Recently, we measured the sputtering of ice for low energy ions and obtained a scaling with ion type, energy, angle of incidence and temperature. The results were used to calculate erosion rates of ices in the rings and icy satellites. Relevant publications: Nucl. Instr. Methods. Phys. Res. B 209 (2003) 294, Surface Sci. 588 (2005) 1, Surface Sci. 602 (2008) 156; Planet. Space Sci. 56 (2008) 1238
Recent publications of our team CAPS (Cassini Plasma Spectrometer) include Science 307 (2005) 1262, Geophys. Res. Lett. 32 (2005) L14S04, Geophys. Res. Lett. 32 (2005) L14S09, Planet. Space Sci. 56 (2008) 3.
Contact Info: |
LASP, University of Virginia, Thornton Hall,
351 McCormick Road, P. O. Box 400238
22904-4238, U. S. A.