The School of Earth and Space Exploration is home to more than 40 instrument facilities and laboratories, led by our faculty in the Earth and space fields including geological science, planetary science, astronomy, cosmology, astrobiology, astrophysics, exploration systems design, and science education. Move below for more detailed descriptions to the facilities and laboratories available to our faculty, research staff, graduate students, and undergraduates.

Lab of the Month

In Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert's Microbiology of the Deep (MOD) Lab, researchers study microbes living below the Earth’s surface, deep in the ocean, and deep below the ocean floor. The lab incorporates elements of microbial ecology, astrobiology geobiology, oceanography, and geochemistry to ask questions about the microbial role in Earth-life interactions. Watch this lab tour video to learn more.

Previous Labs of the Month

We are visiting volcanologist Amanda Clarke's Experimental Volcanology Lab, which integrates field observations, numerical models, and laboratory experiments of volcanic processes and serves as a center of collaboration and education. Watch this video as student researchers simulate the flow of lava using wax and recreate volcanic jets and plumes to simulate ash clouds spreading in the atmosphere.

Instrument Facilities and Laboratories Directors
100K and 10K Cleanroom Facilities Philip Christensen
Aberration Corrected Transmission Electron Microscope Tom Sharp, Axel Wittmann
Accessory Minerals (Apatite, Zircon) IN-situ Geochronology/geochemistry lab (AMAZING) Melanie Barboni
Anbarlab Ariel Anbar
Astrobiology, Molecular Biology, and Proteomics Lab
Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics Lab (CA&NDy) Hilairy Hartnett
Center for Education Through eXploration Ariel Anbar
Center for Meteorite Studies Meenakshi Wadhwa, Laurence Garvie
Cosmogenic and Short-Lived Isotopes Lab Arjun Heimsath
Distributed Robotic Exploration and Mapping Systems Lab (DREAM) Jnaneshwar Das
Dryland Ecosystems Lab Heather Throop
Earth Surface Processes and Geomorphology Lab Ian Walker
Engineering Flight Hardware Lab Philip Christensen
Experimental Petrology and Igneous Processes Center (EPIC) Christy Till
Experimental Volcanology Lab Amanda Clarke
Eyring Materials Center Electron Microprobe Tom Sharp, Axel Wittmann
GEOPIG Biogeochemistry Lab Everett Shock
Group 18 Labs Kip Hodges
High Pressure Diamond-anvil Lab Dan Shim
Hubble Data Lab Rogier Windhorst
Hydrogen Gas Loading Facility Dan Shim
Hydrothermal Organic Geochemistry Lab Everett Shock
Isotope Cosmochemistry and Geochronology Lab Meenakshi Wadhwa
John M. Cowley Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy Peter Buseck, Tom Sharp
Laboratory for Astronomical Space Instrumentation Paul Scowen
Low-frequency Cosmology Lab Judd Bowman
Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper Development and Test Lab Craig Hardgrove
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Science Operations Center Mark Robinson
Mars Space Flight Facility Philip Christensen
Mission Operations Facility Jim Bell
Microbiology of the Deep (MOD) Elizabeth Trembath-Reicher
Multi-anvil Press Lab Dan Shim
OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer Lab Philip Christensen
Planetary Aeolian Lab David Williams, Ian Walker
Planetary GIS Lab David Williams, David Nelson
Planetary Surface Imaging Science Lab Jim Bell
Planetary Surfaces Spectroscopy Lab Jim Bell
Remote Sensing and Tectonic Geodesy Lab Manoochehr Shirzaei
Ronald Greeley Center for Planetary Studies David Williams
Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Lab (SIMS) / Nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Lab (NanoSIMS) Rick Hervig, Maitrayee Bose
Terahertz Instrumentation Lab Chris Groppi, Phil Mauskopf
W.M. Keck Foundation Lab for Environmental Biogeochemistry Everett Shock, Ariel Anbar, Meenakshi Wadhwa

Instrument Facilities and Laboratories

The instrument facilities and laboratories available to our faculty, research staff, graduate students, and undergraduates include:

Looking inside a clean room with a large metal circular chamber with an individual wearing  a cleanroom suit sits at a computer nearby.

100K and 10K Cleanroom Facilities

The School's home, the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB4), contains laboratories and two spaceflight-certified cleanrooms for assembly and testing of instruments and spacecraft for missions beyond Earth. One cleanroom is rated at 100K (no more than 100,000 dust particles per cubic meter), the other is rated at 10K (no more than 10,000 particles).

The cleanrooms contain optical benches and vibration-isolated tables for assembling precision optical and mechanical parts for instruments and spacecraft. In addition, the 100K cleanroom also features a thermal vacuum test chamber (above) in which instruments and spacecraft can be tested under the temperature and vacuum conditions they will experience in space.

An overhead view of machinery and a computer on a desk.

Eyring Materials Center

The Eyring Materials Center (formally known as the LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science) was established in 1974 to provide researchers with open access to sophisticated techniques for materials characterization and high-resolution electron microscopy. The Center supports materials analysis across a broad range of scientific disciplines, including physics; chemistry; biological sciences; earth/space sciences; and engineering.

The center houses three aberration corrected Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEMs) to image and analyze the chemistry and structure of materials at sub-angstrom resolution. The Center’s electron microprobe is capable of high-resolution imaging and is equipped with detectors that allow chemical analyses of sub-micrometer domains of solid materials. This instrument is capable of materials synthesis and characterization, including high T and P synthesis, electron microscopy, diffraction spectroscopy.

A woman stands next to a large machine.

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) Laboratory

The laboratory's mission is to conduct research in the general fields of quantitative secondary ion mass spectrometry. This includes research in ion source design, improvements in secondary ion transmission, alternate uses of the sensitive mass spectrometer, conventional SIMS analysis in earth and materials science, and to offer high-quality SIMS analyses to NSF-funded geoscience researchers.

Two female faculty members smile and stand next to the NanoSIMS machine.

Nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS) Laboratory

ASU is home to a state-of-the-art NanoSIMS instrument, one of only a dozen in the United States. The NanoSIMS is a nanoscopic scale resolution chemical imaging mass spectrometer based on secondary ion mass spectrometry. It works based on a coaxial optical design of the ion gun and the secondary ion extraction, and on an original magnetic sector mass spectrometer with multicollection. ASU’s NanoSIMS can map elemental and isotopic distributions in samples with exceptional sensitivity and spatial resolution better than 50 nanometers.

Three machines, similar in shape and size, pained in yellow, green and blue.

Experimental Petrology and Igneous Processes Center (EPIC)

The Experimental Petrology and Igneous Processes Center is designed to study magma: how and why it forms, its composition and timescales, and the resulting consequences for planetary differentiation. Researchers in this lab study volcanoes and their magma source regions, conduct high pressure and high temperature experiments to simulate magma formation, and perform computational modeling of magmatic processes.

The lab facilities include two Kennedy-style end loaded piston cylinders with automated temperature controllers, a Boyd-England-style Rockland Research 250-ton piston cylinder with automated pressure and temperature controllers, a 10-ton Press for experimental capsule extraction, an Atmosphere Gas Mixing Furnace, a Lampert TIG welder, two Nikon SMZ18 Stereomicroscopes, a Nikon LV100 Petrographic Microscope with camera, Buehler & Struers Low Speed Saws, a Well-brand wire saw with diamond wire, and a Struers LaboSystem automated polisher.

A man stands working on the inside of a computer.

Low-frequency Cosmology Lab (LoCo Lab)

The Low-frequency Cosmology Lab is designed to develop radio instrumentation and conduct astronomical observations to study the evolution of the early Universe and the first stars and galaxies. Current projects include The Experiment to Detect the Global EoR Signature (EDGES), which enables high-precision measurements of the smoothness of the all-sky radio spectrum between 50 and 200 MHz (6<z<30), placing limits on the global 21-cm contribution to the all-sky spectrum and the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) under construction in South Africa to enable the first detailed measurements of the redshifted 21cm power spectrum from reionization.

Telescopes, Instruments, and Other Observational Facilities

The school's researchers have access to a broad suite of world-class telescopes and instruments through the Arizona telescope system, along with access to national ground- and space-based facilities. The Arizona telescope system provides access to the 11 meter equivalent Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham, the 6.5 meter MMT on Mt. Hopkins, the 2.2 meter Bok telescope on Kitt Peak (all in Arizona), and the twin 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatories in Chile, along with several smaller telescopes. Time on these facilities is allocated through a single unified process for all three of Arizona's state-supported universities (ASU, U of A, and NAU). ASU is also a partner in the Giant Magellan Telescope project, under construction at Las Campanas in Chile.

These facilities have a large suite of state-of-the-art instruments, providing both imaging and spectroscopy at both optical and near-infrared wavelengths. Adaptive optics and interferometry are under active development for the MMT and the LBT, and will allow high angular resolution astronomy from Arizona mountaintops in the near future. School of Earth and Space Exploration researchers can also apply for time on Arizona radio telescopes, notably including the 12 meter diameter millimeter-wave dish on Kitt Peak, and the 10 meter Heinrich Hertz Submillimeter Observatory on Mt. Graham.

Computational and Theoretical Resources

In-house high-performance computing — anchored with the 5,000 core, 10TB RAM Saguaro cluster in which the school owns 25 percent — places our researchers at the forefront of numerical astrophysics. The school's scientists use the Saguaro cluster for numerical simulations with a variety of tools, including smooth particle hydrodynamics (the SNSPH and GADGET-2 codes) and adaptive mesh refinement hydrodynamics (the FLASH and PROMPI codes). These resources and tools allow us to study the formation and evolution of objects on scales ranging from 100 Mpc or more (a region larger than the local universe) to an individual neutron star (about the size of Tempe).

Laboratory and Instrument Development Resources

The Laboratory for Astronomical and Space Instrumentation (LASI) offers access to clean room space (class 1000K, 100K, and 10K, with over 3000 square feet per class). It also provides a fully functional optical testbed for QE, linearity and cosmetic testing of detectors over wavelengths from the mid-UV to the near-IR as well as hardware assembly and associated electronics integration. Proximity to the ASU Machine Shop (which has produced space-qualified hardware for Mars missions) offers quick custom machining and integration of pieces in instrument assembly.