ISSI International Team

Nano Dust in the Solar System: Formation, Interactions and Detection

Science - Team Members - Meetings - Reports


Topic: A large fraction of the heavy chemical elements in different cosmic environments is contained in small solid dust particles, among them particles with sizes smaller than about 100 nm are loosely referred to as nano particles. The properties of nano particles are different from those of larger solid dust particles and this is especially so for particles smaller than a few 10 nm. Aside from the detection by astronomical observations, nano dust is recently detected with some in-situ instruments in the interplanetary medium.

Goal: We plan to investigate how nano dust can be detected and studied in the solar system and how this knowledge can contribute to the understanding of nano dust in other cosmic environments.

Relevance: Nano dust particles in many different cosmic environments efficiently interact with surrounding atoms, ions, molecules and radiation and therefore play a major role in astrophysics and solar system studies. The physics of nano particles is also of great importance for studies of the Earth atmosphere.

(Figure above: signals measured with STEREO plasma wave experiment and suggested formation due to charge generation by nano dust hitting the spacecraft with very high velocity, from Meyer-Vernet et al. Solar Phys. 2009)

Team Members

Joseph Arthur Burns, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Andrzej Czechowski, Polish Space Research Center, Warsaw, Poland

Dieter Gerlich, Technical University, Chemnitz, Germany

Hsiang-Wen Hsu, Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Heidelberg, Germany

Vasili Kharchenko, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MN, USA

Yuki Kimura, Department of Earth and Planetary Material Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Harald Krüger, Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany

Aigen Li, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA

Ingrid Mann (team leader), Kindai University, Higashi Osaka, Japan

Nicole Meyer-Vernet, Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, France

Peter Wurz, Department of Space Science and Planetology, University of Bern, Switzerland


We plan to have three one week meetings at ISSI in Bern.

First meeting:   September 21 - 25, 2009
Second meeting: March 22 - 26, 2010
Third meeting: October 11 - 15, 2010



First meeting:         September 21 - 25, 2009
Second meeting:         March 22 - 26, 2010
Second meeting:         October 13 - 15, 2010