Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Reto Trappitsch

Postdoctoral Scholar
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division

 +1 925-422-1680

Ph.D. Geophysical Sciences
University of Chicago, USA
M.Sc. Experimental Physics
University of Bern, Switzerland
B.S. Physics and Astronomy
University of Auckland, NZ

Research Interests

My main research focuses on cosmochemistry, especially the analysis of presolar grain and other meteoritic phases, as well as modeling of cosmogenic nuclides. By measuring the isotopic composition of presolar grains, stellar nucleosynthesis as well as galactic chemical evolution can be studied and constrained. To measure the trace element isotopic composition in these micrometer-sized samples, I use a technique called resonance ionization mass spectrometry (RIMS). RIMS is a high-sensitivity in situ technique that uses the sputtered or desorbed neutral atoms from a sample and resonantly ionizes these atoms using tunable Ti:Sapphire lasers. These photoions are then subsequently analyzed in a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. This technique allows analyzing the trace element isotopic composition of micrometer sized samples without significant isobaric interferences.

In addition, I also develop and apply new models to study the interaction of solar cosmic rays with matter in the Solar System. My models can be used to determine the cosmic ray exposure ages of meteoroids, i.e., the time meteoroids spend in space as individual objects before they fell as meteors to Earth.

Honors and Awards

  • Directorate Award; Physical and Life Sciences, LLNL
    “For determining how and when the Martian crustal dichotomy, a topographic and geophysical divide between the heavily cratered southern highlands and smoother plains of the norther lowlands, formed – Science Advances (2018)”
  • Best Poster Award; Physical and Life Sciences Postdoc Program, LLNL
  • Early Career Scientist Award; Travel Award presented by the Meteoritical Society.
  • Nathan Sugarman Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, Enrico Fermi Institute, The University of Chicago
    Enrico Fermi Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
    “For pioneering measurements of iron and nickel isotopes in presolar silicon carbide grains, which constrain models of stellar nucleosynthesis and galactic chemical evolution.” – Andrew Davis.
  • NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship
  • NASA Cosmochemistry Travel Grants
  • Best Poster Award at Laser at the 7th International Conference on Laser Probing, East Lansing, MI
  • Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry Fellowship
  • Wiley Blackwell Award, Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society 2012, Cairns, Australia
  • Best Poster Award at the XII International Symposium on Nuclei in the Cosmos, Cairns, Australia
  • Local Organizing Committee Travel Grant, XII International Symposium on Nuclei in the Cosmos, Cairns, Australia

Selected (Recent) Publications

Trappitsch R., Boehnke P., Stephan T., Telus M., Savina M. R., Pardo O., Davis A. M., Dauphas N., Pellin M. J., and Huss G. R. (2018) New constraints on the abundance of 60Fe in the early solar system, The Astrophysical Journal Letters 857:L15.

Trappitsch R., Stephan T., Savina M. R., Davis A. M., Pellin M. J., Rost D., Gyngard F., Gallino R., Bisterzo S., Cristallo S., and Dauphas N. (2017) Simultaneous iron and nickel isotopic analyses of presolar silicon carbide grains. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 221:87-108.

Trappitsch R. and Leya I. (2016) Production and recoil loss of cosmogenic nuclides in presolar grains. The Astrophysical Journal 823:12 (11).

Trappitsch R. and Ciesla F. J. (2015) Solar cosmic-ray interaction with protoplanetary disks: production of short-lived radionuclides and amorphization of crystalline material. The Astrophysical Journal 805:5 (11).

Trappitsch R. and Leya I. (2013) Cosmogenic production rates and recoil loss effects in micrometeorites and interplanetary dust particles. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 48:195-210.

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