Dr. Rhonda Stroud from the Naval Research Laboratory will be speaking about Nanoastronomy: laboratory analysis of extraterrestrial materials
October 11, Thursday
3:30 pm, White Hall G09
Refreshments at 3 pm, 105 White Hall
Traditional astronomy relies on remote observations using sophisticated instrumentation to probe objects on the scale of whole stars. Nanoastronomy, conversely, relies on direct, laboratory-based observation of micron-to-nanometer sized particles formed in stars or other cosmic environments. Samples range from nanodiamonds formed in supernovae to hollow organic nanoporous graphene formed at the dawn of our solar system, each preserved in asteroids or comets. Because the laws of physics and chemistry are the same for nanoparticles formed in a laboratory vacuum chamber as those formed in the outflows of a supernovae, analyses of the elemental chemistry, crystal and microstructures of extraterrestrial particles provide insight into their formation conditions. Using techniques such as focused ion beam microscopy (FIB), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and synchrotron-based scanning transmission x-ray microscopy (STXM), we can determine where and how individual nanoparticles formed. This information provides unique constraints on the astrophysical processes that shaped our solar system, complementary to that obtained by traditional, telescope-based astronomy.
More Physics colloquium information can be found here.