Catherine Dukes, LASP/NMCF


Catherine Dukes directs the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Surface Physics (LASP) and provides expertise in X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for the University of Virginia's Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF). Her NSF and NASA funded research focuses on the interaction of radiation (ions, electrons, and photons) with surfaces and the resulting physical and chemical effects. Our emphasis is on understanding the fundamental physics at work in our solar system, particularly the effects of solar-wind particles on the surfaces of airless bodies such as our Moon, Mercury, asteroids, and comets, by simulating planetary regolith environments in the laboratory. We are part of a consortium of researchers currently preparing to investigate unopened lunar core samples collected during the Apollo 17 Mission near Lara crater and will focus our research on characterization of volatiles in the lunar grain rims.


  • BS in Physics (High Honors) - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • MS in Engineering Physics – University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Research Interests

  • Laboratory Planetary Science: the Moon, Mercury, Ceres, Eros, and other airless bodies
  • Ion-Surface / Photon-Surface Interactions
  • Surface Analysis/Electron Spectroscopy
  • Materials Characterization
  • Instrument Development

Selected Publications

  • C. Bu, G. Rodriguez Lopez, C.A. Dukes, O. Ruesch, L.A. McFadden, & J-Y. Li, Stability of Hydrated Carbonates on Ceres, Icarus 320 (Occator Crater), 136-149 (2019).
  • C. Bu, G. Rodriguez Lopez, C.A. Dukes, O. Ruesch, L.A. McFadden, & J-Y Li, Search for Sulfates on the Surface of Ceres, Meteor. Planet. Sci. 53 (DAWN Ceres), 9, 1946-1960 (2018).
  • M.J. Schaible, C.A. Dukes, A.C. Hutcherson, P. Lee, M.R. Collier, R.E. Johnson, Solar wind sputtering rates of small bodies and ion mass spectrometry detection of secondary ions, JGR: Planets, 122, 1968–1983 (2017).
  • C.A. Dukes and R.E. Johnson, Contribution of Surface Processes to the Lunar Exosphere: Laboratory Experiments, in Encyclopedia of Lunar Science, Springer International, ed. B. Cudnik, 1 - 7 (2017).
  • C. Bu, D. Bahr, C. A. Dukes and R. A. Baragiola, Effects of Cracking on the Surface Potential of Icy Grains in Saturn’s E-ring: Laboratory Studies, ApJ 825.2: 106 (2016).
  • C. A. Dukes and D. Hurley, Sampling the Moon, Science 351, 6270, 232-233 (Invited Perspective) (2016).
  • M.J. Loeffler, C.A. Dukes, R. Christoffersen and R.A. Baragiola, Space Weathering of Silicates Simulated by Laser Irradiation, Meteoritics and Planetary Science (2016).
  • C. A. Dukes and R. A. Baragiola, The Lunar Exosphere-Surface Connection: Measurements of Secondary Ions from Apollo, Icarus 255, 51 - 57 (2015).
  • P. Vernazza, D. Fulvio, R. Brunetto, J. P. Emery, C. A. Dukes, F. Cipriani, O. Witasse, M. J. Schaible, B., Zanda, G. Strazzulla, R. A. Baragiola, Paucity of Tagish Lake-like parent bodies in the Asteroid Belt and among Jupiter Trojans, Icarus 225, 1, 517-525 (2013).
  • E. H. Mitchell, U. Raut, D. Fulvio, M. J. Schaible, C. A. Dukes and R. A. Baragiola, Ultraviolet photodesorption driver for water migration on the lunar surface, PSS 89, 42-46 (2013)
  • C.A. Dukes, W.Y. Chang, M. Famá, and R. Baragiola, Laboratory studies on the sputtering contribution to the sodium atmospheres of Mercury and the Moon , Icarus, 212, 2, p. 463-469 (2011).

Other Interests

  • UVa Cavaliers' Basketball, U.S. Women's Soccer, Rail-Trail Biking, Historical Fiction & Mystery Novels, and Domestic/International Travel


NMCF Instrumentation Tour

Process solutions, defect analysis, and materials characterization for academia and industry.....