Monday, April 8, 2013

Opportunities For The Application Of Atomic-Scale Simulation To Elucidate Space-Weathering Processes

Florida Space Institute Seminar Announcement

Speaker:   Patrick Schelling
Affiliation: Physics, UCF
Day and Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Time: 11:00 - 12:00

Location: Research Park
12354 Research Parkway
Partnership 1 Bldg. Suite 209
Orlando, FL 32826

Opportunities For The Application Of Atomic-Scale Simulation To Elucidate Space-Weathering Processes

The mechanisms for space weathering of minerals include bombardment by solar wind particles, cosmic rays, and micrometeorites. As a result of space weathering, mineral surfaces evolve strongly away from that of the parent mineral. This has important impacts on the spectral and chemical properties of objects in the solar system, including lunar and asteroidal regolith. For example, one effect of space weathering is the strong reduction of silicate minerals and the subsequent production of nanophase elemental Fe within the silicate matrix. In this talk, ongoing work to understand space weathering starting from atomic-scale modeling will be presented. The fundamental process of radiation damage involves the production of Frenkel defects which subsequently evolve to create defect clusters and dislocations. In a strongly-reduced silicate matrix, interstitial Fe clusters may grow into nanophase Fe. Plans to explore the chemical reactivity of space-weathered materials will also be described. For example, implanted hydrogen trapped at cation vacancy sites may be a mechanism for the production of water molecules. It has been speculated for some time that water molecules are produced on the lunar surface due to proton bombardment, but the details of this process are not understood. It is also known that Fe is strongly catalytic for the production of hydrocarbons, which might be an interesting consequence of the production of nanophase Fe.
Many of the approaches that are employed have a long history in materials science, and are quite well developed, but have not been extensively applied to questions of interest to the planetary science community. One objective of the talk is to highlight possible opportunities for future research directions.

For further information please the click below:
Todd Bradley
Department of Physics
Phone: 407-823-0631
Email: tbradley @ physics. ucf. edu
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