SPACE Tweezers - Spectroscopy of Planetary and AtmospheriC particulatE by optical Tweezers

Coordinatore: Onofrio Maragò (coordinatore nazionale IPCF–CNR, Messina), Luigi Folco (coordinatore locale DST, UniPisa)

Ente finanziatore: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) – Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF); ID# 2018-16-HH.0

Budget: 180 720 €.

Partners: IPCF-CNR, Messina; Università Parthenope; Università di Messina; Università di Pisa; INAF

Durata: febbraio 2020 - dicembre 2022

Optical tweezers (OT) enable trapping, manipulation, and characterization of a wide range of microscopic and nanoscopic particles, in liquids, air, and vacuum. Since the pioneering work by Ashkin, that led him to the Nobel prize in Physics 2018, key applications of this contactless technique have been developed in many fields. With our project we aim at developing methods for using OT to trap and spectroscopically characterize (Raman Tweezers) extraterrestrial dust particles and/or their analogs. This study will provide solid ground for the application of OT techniques in the near future to solar system study, e.g., cometary particles analyses including the volatile component, dust particles in the Martian atmosphere and/or on the Martian, Lunar surfaces. Such application will also be strategic for the "clean" handling/preliminary characterization of restricted and unrestricted samples of planetary bodies returned from space missions in curatorial facilities.