Dr. Zega applies a microscopy- and microanalysis-based approach to study the chemical and physical evolution of the early solar system and ancient stars. His efforts are focused on the origin of the circumstellar grains that formed in ancient stars, refractory inclusions that formed the first solar-system solids, primitive organic compounds, and development of analytical techniques for investigations of such materials. He uses ultrahigh-resolution ion- and electron-microscopy techniques, including focused-ion-beam scanning-electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, to determine the composition and structure of these materials at scales ranging from millimeters down to the atomic. Knowledge of these details of planetary materials provides incomparable insights into the origin of our solar system and ancient stars.
Ph.D., 2003, Arizona State University