Jesser Hall 149
Thornton Hall B104-B112
University of Virginia, Materials Science & Engineering
395 McCormick Road (Load Dock)
Charlottesville, VA 22904
LASP KEVION Irradiation Facility CV (abbreviated)


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 currently part of a consortium of researchers investigating an unopened lunar core samples collected during the Apollo 17 Mission near Lara crater. Dukes has recently joined the sample analysis team as Collaborator for the OSIRIS-REx Mission, returning regolith grains from the carbonaceous asteroid Bennu, and is a Management Committee member of the Virginia Initiative for Cosmic Origins.


University of Michigan, B.S. (High Honors in Physics)

University of Virginia, M.S. (Engineering Physics)

Research Interests

Laboratory Planetary Science
Extraterrestrial Materials Research
Ion-Surface / Photon-Surface Interactions
Materials Characterization
Instrument Development

Selected Recent Publications

Search for Chirality in Hydrogenated Magnesium Nanosilicates: A DFT and TD-DFT Investigation, J Phys Chem A. 128(18):3475-3494 (2024) Kamil B. Stelmach, Catherine A. Dukes, and Robin T. Garrod
Investigating the role of incident ion flux in solar wind space weathering of carbon-rich asteroidal regolith via H+ and He+ irradiation of the Murchison meteorite, Icarus, Volume 410, 115883 (2024) D.L. Laczniak, M.S. Thompson, R. Christoffersen, C.A. Dukes, R.V. Morris, L.P. Keller
Absolute Doubly Differential Angular Sputtering Yields for 20 keV Kr+ on Polycrystalline Cu, J. Appl. Phys. 135, 035302 (2024) C. Bu, L.S. Morrissey, B.C. Bostick, M.H. Burger, K. P. Bowen, S.N. Chillrud, D.L. Domingue, C.A. Dukes, D.S. Ebel, G.E. Harlow, P-M. Hillenbrand, D.A. Ivanov, R.M. Killen, J.M. Ross, D. Schury, O. J. Tucker, X. Urbain, R. Zhang, and D. W. Savin
Spectra of low energy electrons emitted in the interaction of slow Ne+ ions with Mg surfaces, Surfaces 6(3), 257-267 (2023) Pierfrancesco Riccardi and Catherine A. Dukes
Evaluating the effects of space weathering on magnetite on airless planetary bodies, Icarus, 402, 115634 (2023) L. Chaves, M. Thompson, B. Horgan, C. Dukes, M. Loeffler
On the origins of backscattered solar wind energetic neutral hydrogen from the Moon and Mercury, Planetary and Space Science, 229, 105660 (2023) F. Leblanc, R. Deborde, D. Tramontina, E. Bringa, J.Y. Chaufray, S. Aizawa, R. Modolo, L. Morrissey, A. Woodson, S. Verkercke, C. Dukes
Surface oxides, carbides, and impurities on RF superconducting Nb and Nb3Sn: A comprehensive analysis, Superconductor Science and Technology, 36, 115030 (2023) Z. Sun, Z. Baraissov, C. A. Dukes,  D. K. Dare, T. Oseroff, M. O. Thompson, D. A. Muller, M. U. Liepe