Research

The planetary materials research group  is focused on understanding the chemical and physical origins of our solar system and ancient stars. Clues to such origins are stored in the atoms contained within meteorites and related planetary materials (e.g., interplanetary dust particles, as well as cometary, asteroidal, and lunar samples returned from space missions) which are the condensed matter leftover from the time that our solar system formed. We use high-resolution ion-, X-ray-, and electron-beam analytical techniques to extract detailed information on the chemical composition and structure of such samples to decipher the chemical and physical processes that occurred during and prior to the evolution of our solar system. We investigate naturally occuring components in meteorites (and related planetary samples) as well as synthetic analogs. Below are selected representative images from some recent work. Detailed information on this research can be found in the publications.