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LAMB-LE: New experimental technique to study the physico-chemical changes of the impacting bolide

Presentation #220.05 in the session Laboratory Investigations (Poster + Lightning Talk)

Published onOct 23, 2023
LAMB-LE: New experimental technique to study the physico-chemical changes of the impacting bolide

Impact events are prevalent in the solar system. Large impacts shape the evolution of planetary bodies, while small-scale bombardment of micron to cm size particles has the ability to transform the physical and chemical properties of the bombarded surfaces. The high temperature and pressure achieved in impact events can lead to chemical transformation and facilitate the synthesis of novel molecules [1]. To-date most experiments have focused on physico-chemical changes induced in the target during the impacts whereas, such changes on the impacting bolide have only been explored in a few experiments.

We introduce a new experimental technique called Laser Ablation of Meteorites and Biomolecules in Liquid Environment (LAMB-LE) to simulate impact conditions within a controlled laboratory environment which can provide insights into chemical transformations triggered by impact events, especially on the impacting bolide. LAMB-LE is based on a well-established technique of laser ablation in liquid environments providing high pressure and temperature condition during target ablation [2]. In our experiments, we simulated impact events using a Nd:YAG nanosecond pulsed laser (wavelength 1064 nm, pulse duration ~ 7 ns). Initial experiments were performed on a pristine piece of Mukundpura meteorite sample (weight ~ 300 mg) immersed in MilliQ water subjected to multiple laser shots.

After each shot, the ablated material was collected in liquid form and directly subjected to a TEM grid for analysis, which revealed the formation of various carbonaceous structures, such as spherical nanoparticles and graphene sheets. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report showing the formation of carbon nanostructures from meteoritic materials through laser ablation of a meteorite in liquid environments. Additionally, this method has the potential to simulate meteorite impact in water-based environments and also environments where water is present, even momentarily. Such fundamental investigations are essential for understating the physico-chemical changes of the impacting bolide. This presentation will provide specifics of the LAMB-LE setup and preliminary results obtained. Future experiments involve laser ablation on biomolecules and will be compared to our impact experiments on biomolecules [3,4], providing insights into different impact simulation techniques.


  1. Singh S.V., et al., 2023, Journal of the Indian Institute of Science, 1.

  2. Fazio E., et al., 2020, Nanomaterials, 10, 2317.

  3. Singh S.V., et al., 2020, Molecules, 25, 5634.

  4. Singh S.V., et al., 2022, Life, 12, 508.

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