PTYS/LPL Faculty

Tom Zega

Associate Professor
Cosmochemistry, Planetary materials, Astrobiology
Ph.D., 2003, Arizona State University

Kuiper 522

Years with LPL: 2011 to present

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 incomparable insights into the origin of our solar system and ancient stars.

Current Grants

  • Earths in other solar systems: Toward forming and discovering planets with biocritical ingredients: NASA Astrobiology Institute and Nexus for Explanet System Science
  • Origins of refractory material in stellar systems from an atomistic to macroscale perspective, NASA Emerging Worlds Program
  • MRI: Acquisition of an Analytical Transmission Electron Microscope for High-resolution, Rapid Nanoscale Compositional Mapping of Earth, Planetary, and Advanced Materials, NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program
  • Acquisition of a TEM at the University of Arizona for the Analysis of Planetary Materials, NASA Planetary Major Equipment Program
  • Constraining asteroidal formation and alteration conditions via microstructure and elemental compositions of sulfides from returned samples, NASA Laboratory Analysis of Returned Samples Program
  • Tracing the History of Molecular Phosphorous: From Interstellar Space to Planetary Surfaces, NASA Emerging Worlds Program
  • 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

Current Spacecraft Involvement

Former Spacecraft Involvement

  • NASA Stardust

Current PTYS Graduate Students

Student Collaborations/Advising

Students from outside UA PTYS

  • Tarunika Ramprasad (Ph.D. Materials Science & Engineering)

Former Students

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

Current Postdocs

  • Pierre Haenecour

Former Postdocs

  • Prajkta Mane

Current Staff Scientists

  • Dr. Ken Domanik
  • Dr. Jerry Chang


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

Refereed publications (NASA ADS): Calendar Year 2016 through July 2018

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

Berger, E. L., Lauretta, D. S., Zega, T. J., Keller, L. P.  Heterogeneous histories of Ni-bearing pyrrhotite and pentlandite grains in the CI chondrites Orgueil and Alais 2016M&PS...51.1813B

Thompson, M. S., Zega, T. J., Howe, J. Y.  In Situ Heating of Lunar Soil in the Transmission Electron Microscope: Simulating Micrometeorite Impacts. 2016MiMic..22S1800T

Zega, T. J., Manga, V., Domanik, K., Muralidharan, K.  Atomic-Resolution Analysis of Perovskite from the Early Solar System 2016MiMic..22S1778Z

Thompson, M. S., Zega, T. J., Becerra, P., Keane, J. T., Byrne, S.  The oxidation state of nanophase Fe particles in lunar soil: Implications for space weathering 2016M&PS...51.1082T

Bolser, D., Zega, T. J., Asaduzzaman, A., Bringuier, S., Simon, S. B., Grossman, L., Thompson, M. S., Domanik, K. J. Microstructural analysis of Wark-Lovering rims in the Allende and Axtell CV3 chondrites: Implications for high-temperature nebular processes 2016M&PS...51..743B

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

Last updated on August 10, 2018