Tin Ho with ANGSA Samples

Laboratory for Astrophysics and Surface Physics (LASP-UVa)

Studying the interaction of energetic particles (ions, electrons and photons) with solid surfaces, with an emphasis on understanding the physical and chemical processes at play in our solar system and interstellar medium.

Research Objective

Our goal is to deduce the mechanisms leading to remotely observed optical & spectral signatures (spectral reflectance or mass spectroscopy) by investigations of electronic excitation and how these excitations evolve and lead to the emission of light (luminescence), electrons, radiation, atoms and molecules (sputtering and photodesorption) and to radiation damage, chemical changes, and/or surface charge.

Current Research

  • Apollo

    Lunar Investigations: Surface & Exosphere

    Maximizing the science derived from samples returned by the Apollo Program and lunar analog materials in preparation for future Artemis missions to the Moon.

  • OREX

    Understanding Asteroid Origins & Evolution

    Investigating the physical and chemical effects of space weathering by solar-wind ions and micrometeorite bombardment through laboratory experiment and returned asteroid sample analysis. 

  • Mercury Poster

    Mercury: Space Weathering and Exosphere Production

    Quantifying sputtering desorption yields for exospheric constituents from the rough Hermean regolith and investigating compositional, chemical and optical change in sulfur- and carbon-rich magnesium silicates.

  • Astrochemistry Poster

    Astrochemistry of the Icy Planets & ISM

    Radiolysis and radiochemistry of condensed gas surfaces; measuring the binding energy of organic species to icy grains; & calculating the stability & chirality of magnesium nanosilicates 

  • Ion Accelerator Cartoon

    KEVION Ion Irradiation Facility for Planetary Science

    An ion accelerator for transformative research in studies of space weathering, radiolysis, radiosynthesis, sputtering, surface charging, radiation damage, instrument development and sample characterization.

  • rock image under microscope

    Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF)

    Analysis of structure, composition, order, and defects with cutting-edge materials characterization tools, including:  XPS, XRD, XRF, SEM/EDS, HR-TEM/EDS/EELS, optical imaging, AFM, FT-IR & Raman spectroscopies.

Recent Publications

  • K.B. Stelmach, C.A. Dukes, and R.T. Garrod, "A Search for Chirality in Hydrogenated Magnesium Nanosilicates: A DFT and TD-DFT Investigation," Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 128, 18, 3475–3494, (2024) https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpca.3c06521


  • D. Laczniak, M. Thompson, R. Christoffersen, C. Dukes, R. Morris, and L. Keller, “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) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2023.115883


  • 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, “Absolute Doubly Differential Angular Sputtering Yields for 20 keV Kr+ on Polycrystalline Cu,” J. Appl. Phys. 21; 135 (3): 035302 (2024) https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0184417



8 LASP Team Members

>10 Collaborating Institutions

5 Funded Projects

>7 Experimental Chambers

LASP 2021
kamil and jillian
Na Evaporator
LASP 2022