PTYS/LPL Faculty

Kuiper 522


Tom Zega

Associate Professor

CosmochemistryPlanetary materialsAstrobiologySmall Bodies

Dr. Zega applies a microscopy- and microanalysis-based approach to study the chemical and physical evolution of the early solar system and ancient stars. His efforts are focused on the origin of the circumstellar grains that formed in ancient stars, refractory inclusions that formed the first solar-system solids, primitive organic compounds, and development of analytical techniques for investigations of such materials. He uses ultrahigh-resolution ion- and electron-microscopy techniques, including focused-ion-beam scanning-electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, to determine the composition and structure of these materials at scales ranging from millimeters down to the atomic. Knowledge of these details of planetary materials provides novel insights into the origin of our solar system and ancient stars.

View LPL Evening Lecture from October 3, 2012, Laboratory-based Astronomy at the Nanometer Scale

Ph.D., 2003, Arizona State University

Years with LPL: 2011 to present

Current Grants

  • Thermodynamic origins of refractory dust in the early solar system and ancient stars (PI; Co-Is: F. Ciesla, V. Manga, and K. Muralidharan)
  • Following the Molecular History of Stellar Ejecta: Combining Observations with Laboratory Spectroscopy and Imaging (Co-I w/L. Ziurys PI)
  • Earths in other solar systems: Toward forming and discovering planets with biocritical ingredients: NASA Astrobiology Institute and Nexus for Explanet System Science (Co-I w/D. Apai PI)
  • Physical and chemical evolution of airless landscapes, NASA Solar Systems Workings Program (Co-I w/S. Byrne PI)
  • Atomic-scale analysis of samples returned from the Hayabusa Mission and analogs of those to-be-returned by Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS-REx, NASA Laboratory Analysis of Returned Samples Program (PI)
  • Constraining asteroidal formation and alteration conditions via microstructure and elemental compositions of sulfides from returned samples, NASA Laboratory Analysis of Returned Samples Program (Co-I w/D. Schrader, PI)
  • Tracing the History of Molecular Phosphorous: From Interstellar Space to Planetary Surfaces, NASA Emerging Worlds Program (Co-I w/L. Ziurys PI)
  • Thermodynamic origins of refractory dust in the early solar system and ancient stars, NASA Emerging Worlds Program (PI)
  • A multifaceted approach to investigating the magmatic and post-magmatic history of volatiles in basalts from the rim of sten crater, NASA ANGSA Program (Co-I w/J. Barnes PI)

Current Spacecraft Involvement

Former Spacecraft Involvement

  • NASA Stardust
  • Tarunika Ramprasad (Materials Science & Engineering)
  • Laura Seifert (PTYS)

Former Students

  • Michelle Thompson, 2016 (Ph.D. PTYS)
  • Diana Bolser, 2014 (M.S. Chemistry)

Current Postdocs

Pierre-Marie Zanetta

Former Postdocs

  • Pierre Haenecour
  • Prajkta Mane

Current Staff Scientists

  • Dr. Jerry Chang
  • Dr. Ken Domanik
  • Dr. Juliane Weber


Complete publications list available from: NASA ADS Author search: Thomas J. Zega

Refereed publications (NASA ADS): Calendar Years 2017 through 2019

Zega T.J., Haenecour P., and Floss C. (2019) An in situ investigation on the origins and processing of circumstellar oxide and silicate grains in carbonaceous chondrites. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, doi: 10.1111/maps.13418.

Schrader, D. L., Zega, T. J. Petrographic and compositional indicators of formation and alteration conditions from LL chondrite sulfides 2019GeCoA.264..165S

Bernal, J. J., Haenecour, P., Howe, J., Zega, T. J., Amari, S., Ziurys, L. M. Formation of Interstellar C60 from Silicon Carbide Circumstellar Grains 2019ApJ...883L..43B

Haenecour, P., Howe, J. Y., Zega, T. J., Amari, S., Lodders, K., José, J., Kaji, K., Sunaoshi, T., Muto, A. Laboratory evidence for co-condensed oxygen- and carbon-rich meteoritic stardust from nova outbursts 2019NatAs...3..626H

Schmidt, D. R., Woolf, N. J., Zega, T. J., Ziurys, L. M. Extreme 13C,15N and 17O isotopic enrichment in the young planetary nebula K4-47 2018Natur.564..378S

Haenecour, P., Howe, J. Y., Zega, T. J., Amari, S., Floss, C., Wallace, P., Lodders, K., Kaji, K., Sunaoshi, T., Muto, A. Low-Voltage Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy and Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy Analysis of Presolar Graphite Spherules 2018MiMic..24S2110H

Nakamura-Messenger, K., Squyres, S. W., Pace, L. F., Messenger, S., Mitchell, D. F., Lauretta, D. S., Glavin, D. P., Houghton, M., Hayes, A. G., Nakamura, T., Dworkin, J. P., Nguyen, A., Clemett, S., Furukawa, Y., Kimura, Y., Takigawa, A., Blake, G., Zega, T. J., Mumma, M., Milam, S., Herd, C. D. K., Mitchell, J. The CAESAR New Frontiers Comet Sample Return Mission 2018MiMic..24S2104N

Howe, J. Y., Haenecour, P., Thompson, M. S., Dogel, S., Sunaoshi, T., Sagar, J., Hosseinkhannazer, H., Zega, T. J. Nanoscale Investigation of Thermal Alteration of Chondritic Meteorites via Simultaneous Secondary and Transmitted Electron Imaging during In Situ Heating up to 1000 oC 2018MiMic..24S2102H

Seifert, L., Haenecour, P., Zega, T., Floss, C., Howe, J. Multi-keV Analyses of a Presolar Mg-Silicate Grain via SEM/STEM 2018MiMic..24S2098S

Mane, P., Wallace, S., Wallace, P., Chang, Y. J., Domanik, K., Zega, T. J. Coordinated EBSD and TEM Analysis to Decipher Shock Deformation Effects in the Oldest Solids in the Solar System 2018MiMic..24S2092M

Ramprasad, T., Mane, P., Zega, T. J. Aberration-corrected STEM/TEM Chemical Analysis and Imaging of Meteoritic Refractory Oxide Assemblages 2018MiMic..24S2090R

Slick, L. R., Mane, P., Howe, J., Zega, T. Toward Quantification of Ti-Oxidation States in Planetary Materials via Application of the EELS White-Line Ratio Technique 2018MiMic..24S2086S

Zega, T. J., Howe, J. Y., Sagar, J., Pinard, P., Koch, R. Mass-Thickness Measurements in the TEM via EDS: A New Approach to Quantitative Chemical Analysis of Planetary Materials? 2018MiMic..24S2084Z

Barnes, J. J., Thompson, M. S., McCubbin, F. M., Howe, J. Y., Rahman, Z., Messenger, S., Zega, T. Coordinated Microanalysis of Phosphates in High-Titanium Lunar Basalts 2018MiMic..24S2078B

Haenecour, P., Floss, C., Zega, T. J., Croat, T. K., Wang, A., Jolliff, B. L., Carpenter, P. Presolar silicates in the matrix and fine-grained rims around chondrules in primitive CO3.0 chondrites: Evidence for pre-accretionary aqueous alteration of the rims in the solar nebula 2018GeCoA.221..379H

Mane, P., Wallace, S., Bose, M., Domanik, K., Zega, T. J., Wadhwa, M.  Coordinated X-ray, Ion, and Electron Microanalysis Approach Towards Understanding the Earliest-Formed Solids in the Solar System 2017MiMic..23S2136M

Haenecour, P., Zega, T. J., Howe, J. Y., Wallace, P., Floss, C., Yada, T.  Investigation of the Nature of Capping Layer Materials for FIB-SEM Preparation: Implications for the Study of Carbonaceous Material in Extraterrestrial Samples 2017MiMic..23S1820H

Ramprasad, T., Howe, J. Y., Gnanaprakasa, T. J., Hanawa, A., Jiminez, J., Muralidharan, K., Zega, T. J.  The Structure and Electronic States of Self-Assembled C60 Crystals 2017MiMic..23S1818R

Howe, J. Y., Ramprasad, T., Hanawa, A., Inada, H., Jimenez, J., Hoyle, D., Voelkl, E., Zega, T. J.  Collection Efficiency of the Twin EDS Detectors for Quantitative X-ray Analysis on A New Probe-Corrected TEM/STEM 2017MiMic..23S.520H

Zega, T. J., Manga, V., Watanabe, K., Domanik, K., Mane, P., Hanawa, A., Inada, H., Howe, J. Y., Muralidharan, K.  A Combined Atomic-Resolution STEM and First-Principles Approach Towards Understanding the Origins of the First Solar-System Solids 2017MiMic..23S.396Z

Howe, J. Y., Thompson, M. S., Dogel, S., Ueda, K., Matsumoto, T., Kikuchi, H., Reynolds, M., Hosseinkhannazer, H., Zega, T. J.  In situ Thermal Shock of Lunar and Planetary Materials Using A Newly Developed MEMS Heating Holder in A STEM/SEM 2017MiMic..23S..66H

Zega, T. J., Massani, B. B., Chang, Y. J., Domanik, K., Nebesny, K., Wallace, P., Armstrong, N. R., Corral, E., Lauretta, D. S., Swindle, T. D., Wang, W., Howe, J. Y., Hanawa, A., Inada, H.  A New Core Facility For Electron And Ion Microscopy At The University Of Arizona 2017MiMic..23S..64Z

Thompson, M. S., Zega, T. J., Howe, J. Y.  In situ experimental formation and growth of Fe nanoparticles and vesicles in lunar soil 2017M&PS...52..413T

Semester Course Day/Time Location Resources
Spring 2020 PTYS 513-001 MW 11:00-12:15p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Spring 2020 PTYS 413-001 MW 11:00-12:15p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Fall 2020 PTYS 526-001 TTH 12:30-1:45p.m. Kuiper 312
Spring 2018 PTYS 510A-001 TTH 12:30 - 1:45p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
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Fall 2018 PTYS 526-001 TTH 11:00-12:15p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
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Fall 2017 PTYS 407-001 MW 9:00-10:15 a.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
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Last updated on February 6, 2020