Astrophysical Materials Laboratory

The Astrophysical Materials Laboratory is a collaborative effort between Northern Arizona University and Lowell Observatory to understand properties of extraterrestrial materials, especially those that occur on the surfaces of outer solar system bodies. We take a broad approach, using laboratory-based spectroscopy, astronomical observations, and theory to explore the properties of cryogenic systems.

Recent News from the Lab

Anna presented, "Titan Underground: Karst Systems" at the Lowell Observatory Astronomy on Tap in May 2023

Anna presented, "Phase Behaviors of the Methane–Ethane–Nitrogen System at Titan-like Conditions," during a session of the LPI Virtual Seminar Series in May 2023

Will, Jennifer, and Anna attended LPSC 2023, with Will and Jennifer presenting ongoing results from the lab and Anna showing work conducted on the DraGNS (Dragonfly Gamma-ray and Neutron Spectrometer) instrument

Shae advanced to candidacy in January 2023

Will, Jennifer, Anna, Shae, and Jordan presented at the 2023 1st Workshop on Ices in the Solar System

Kendall graduated in fall 2022 with a BS in Physics and Astrophysics. He is now part of the lab as a research assistant 

Jennifer, Anna, Cece, and Jordan attended DPS 2022 in person and Will and Shae attended virtually

Aidan Madden-Watson and Moises Gomez were part of the lab as undergraduate NASA Space Grant students for the 2022-2023 academic year. Aidan is now part of the NAU Astronomy and Planetary Science PhD program and is working with Dr. Cristina Thomas

Alex Jasko was part of the 2022 summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program and aided in rebuilding the thin film side of the lab

Shae et al. published a paper in the Journal of Chemical Physics titled, "Non-Isoplethic Measurement on the Solid-Liquid-Vapor Equilibrium of Binary Mixtures at Cryogenic Temperatures" [DOI]

Jennifer travelled to Bern, Switzerland for an International Space Science Institute (ISSI) ( team meeting entitled "Ice Beyond Earth: Laboratory Investigations of Planetary Ices." The goal of this meeting was to identify current laboratory capabilities for planetary ices and prioritize future measurements and developments

In spring 2022, Jennifer and Anna traveled to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Orangisation (ANSTO) facility in Sydney, Australia to conduct neutron diffraction experiments on the methane-ethane system with Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely

Kendall presented his space grant project titled, "The Portable Goniometer for Measuring BRDF" in April 2022

The lab has moved! While it is sad to say goodbye to the old room, we look forward to the many opportunities the new space has to provide

Anna presented, "Hydrocarbons in the lakes of Titan" at New Mexico State University in March 2022

Anna participated in the March 2022 Caltech Space Challenge and was part of the winning team

Anna advanced to candidacy in December 2021

Anna and Shae virtually presented work at DPS 2021

Anna was awarded a position in the Dragonfly Student & Early Career Investigator Program in 2021

Gerrick presented on "Searching for Life in the Rivers and Lakes of the Outer Solar System" during Flagstaff's 2021 Festival of Science 

Anna presented on the "Hydrocarbons in the Lakes of Titan" to the Phoenix Astronomical Society in September 2021

Kendall Koga joined the lab as an undergraduate NASA Space Grant student for the 2021-2022 academic year

Cecilia (Cece) Thieberger started the PhD program in the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science in fall 2021

Alex Rosenthal was part of the 2021 summer REU program working on molecular dynamics simulations with Gerrick

Henry Dawson was part of the 2021 summer REU program working on optical constants in thin film ices with Steve and Will

Gerrick et al. published a paper in Liquids titled, "Density, Enthalpy of Vaporization and Local Structure of Neat n-Alkane Liquids." [DOI]

Jennifer and Anna presented at the Titan Through Time V workshop and Shae co-authored a poster

Shae presented at a New Horizons workshop, Will was also in attendance

Jason Libby received the Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) and will continue his work on software development on eutectic phase behavior in the 2021-2022 academic year

Jason Libby presented his NASA Space Grant project titled, "Software Development for Investigation of Eutectic Phase Behavior on Pluto and Beyond" in April 2021

Anna et al. published a paper in The Planetary Science Journal titled, "Phase Diagram for the Methane–Ethane System and Its Implications for Titan's Lakes." [DOI]

Jennifer and Anna presented work at LPSC 2021

Updated: March 2023