Laser Laboratory

FU - Freie Universität Berlin
last updated: July 19, 2023

About the Laboratory

Laser Laboratory

FU - Freie Universität Berlin
@ Planetary Sciences
This Laboratory is part of:
  • Networks: Geo.X


  • Tbd
Visit us on our website in DE / EN


For quantitative interpretation of impact ionization spectra, analogue experiments in the lab are mandatory. For mineral and organic dust particles, this is achieved by electrostatic acceleration of micron and sub-micron sized dust grains of known composition that are fired upon duplicates of the space detectors.
Acceleration of icy particles to the desired speed is currently not possible. However, to simulate icy particle impact one can use a laser-driven analogue setup. Here a highly focused pulsed laser intersects a micron-sized water beam (or similar sized water droplets) of controlled composition to simulate an ice particle impact. The ions are then directed into a TOF-MS to record analogue spectra. In our lab in Berlin we run such a (worldwide unique) setup. It is currently in heavy use for the Cassini mission and will be needed for many years to come for the Europa Clipper and other future missions exploring subsurface oceans.


Analytical Methods

Laboratory Keywords

  • Nd:YAG Laser
  • Reflectron Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer