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 Astrophysics & Space Sciences: People
Ara  Chutjian's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 121-104
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Ara Chutjian

  • B.S. (Magna cum Laude) Brown University (1962)
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley (1966)

Research Interests
  • Scattering of low-energy electrons (1-50 eV) from highly-charged ions (HCIs) by electron energy-loss and merged-beams methods
  • Measurement of metastable lifetimes in HCIs
  • Measurement of charge exchange and X-ray emission cross sections in HCIs
  • Generation and use of intense beams of fast neutral hydrogen and oxygen atoms for (a) atom-molecule gas-phase collisions, and (b) for atom-molecule surface recombination on interstellar grains
  • Detection of trace molecular species by ultralow energy electron capture (READ system)
  • Measurement of electron attachment cross sections at ultralow electron energies (0.2-150 meV) at 0.2 meV resolution
  • Miniaturization of mass spectrometer and gas chromatograph system for planetary missions
  • Flight and maintenance of the Trace Gas Analyzer, an astronaut safety tool for the International Space Station
  • Delivering the flight Vehicle Cabin Air Monitor, a miniature GC/MS system for trace species detection in long-duration human flight missions.

Professional Experience
  • Visiting Faculty Associate at Caltech (1998 - Present)
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1969 - Present)
    • Leader, Atomic and Molecular Collisions Team (1990 - Present)
    • Senior Research Scientist (JPL) (1990)
    • Smithsonian Visiting Scientist, Harvard Ctr. for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA (1984, 1987)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Univ. Southern California (1968)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Bell Telephone Laboratories (1967)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Award Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor (VCAM) Team (2011)
  • Victor Hambartsumyan Award (2010)
  • JPL Explorer Award (2009)
  • NASA Space Act Award for the READ trace species detection work, with a Certificate of Recognition and monetary award (2002)
  • NASA Award for Excellence to the AMC Team for design, construction, test, and delivery of the QMSA for integration as the Trace Gas Analyzer for astronaut use (2000)
  • JPL/Technology and Applications Programs Group Award for Exceptional Achievement (US Navy MUDSS undersea trace explosives detection program) (1998)
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (electron-ion collisions) (1997)
  • JPL/Technology and Applications Programs Award for Exceptional Achievement (fast atomic oxygen collisions) (1996)
  • Joint Appointment as Staff Scientist with JPL's Ctr. for Space Microelectronics Technol. (1996)
  • NATO award for research in electron-ion collisions with Queen's University (Belfast) (1987 - 1989)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society

Selected Publications
  1. "Low Energy Electron Attachment to SF6 at sub-meV Resolution using a New, Tunable Laser Photoelectron Method," P-T. Howe, A. Kortyna, M. R. Darrach, and A. Chutjian, Phys. Rev. A. 63, 042706 (2001)
  2. "Experimental and Theoretical Cross Sections for Electron-Impact Excitation of the 2S → 2p Transition in O5+," J. A. Lozano, M. Niimura, S. J. Smith, A. Chutjian and S. S. Tayal, Phys. Rev. A 63, 042713 (2001)
  3. "Experimental Investigation of the Processes Determining X-Ray Emission Intensities from Charge-Exchange Collisions," J. B. Greenwood, I. D. Williams, S. J. Smith, and A. Chutjian, Phys. Rev. A 63, 062707 (2001).
  4. "X-Ray Emission from Electron Capture by Highly-Charged Ions," J. B. Greenwood, I. D. Williams, S. J. Smith, and A. Chutjian, Applications of Accelerators in Research and Industry (eds. J. L. Duggan and I. L. Morgan, Am. Inst. Phys., New York, 2001) p. 157.
  5. "Trace Gas Analyzer for Extra-Vehicular Activity," T. Abbasi, M. Christensen, M. Villemarette, M. Darrach, A. Chutjian, SAE Technic. Paper Ser. 2001-10-2405 (SAE, Warrendale, PA 2001).
  6. "Electron Excitation Cross Sections for the 2s22p2 3P → 2s22p2 1D Transition in O2+," M. Niimura, S. J. Smith, and A. Chutjian, Ap. J. 565, 645 (2002).
  7. "Absolute Cross Sections for Single and Double Charge Exchange in 3He2+ Impact on CO," I.Cadez, J. B. Greenwood, A. Chutjian, S. J. Smith, and M. Niimura, J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 35, 2515 (2002).
  8. "Electron Excitation Cross Sections for the 3p5 2Po3/2 → 3p5 2Po 1/2 Fine Structure Transition in Fe9+," M. Niimura, S. J. Smith, I. Cadez, and A. Chutjian, Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 103201 (2002).
  9. "A Compact, High-Resolution Paul Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer with Electron-Impact Ionization," O. J. Orient and A. Chutjian, Rev. Sci. Instr. 73, 2157 (2002).
  10. "Absolute Cross Sections for Single and Double Charge Exchange in Feq+ Impacting on He," I. Cadez, J. B. Greenwood, J. A. Lozano, R. J. Mawhorter, S. J. Smith, M. Niimura, and A. Chutjian, J. Phys. B 36, 3003 (2003).
  11. "Collision Phenomena Involving Highly-Charged Ions in Astronomical Objects," A. Chutjian, in The Physics of Multiply and Highly Charged Ions, (ed. F. J. Currell, Kluwer, London 2003).
  12. "Measurement of the Metastable Lifetime for the 2s22p2 1S0 Level in O2+," S. J. Smith, I. Cadez, A. Chutjian, and M. Niimura, Ap. J. 602, 1075 (2004).
  13. "Electron Excitation Cross Sections for the 2s22p 2PE 6 2s2p2 4P and 2s2p2 2D Transitions in O3+," S. J. Smith, J. A. Lozano, S. S. Tayal, and A. Chutjian, Phys. Rev. A 68, 062708 (2003).
  14. "The Contribution of Charge Exchange to Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Astronomy," J. B. Greenwood, R.J. Mawhorter, I. Cadez, J. Lozano, S. J. Smith, and A. Chutjian, XXIII Int. Conf. Photonic, Electron. Atomic Collisions, Book of Invited Papers (ed. R. Schuch, 2004), Phys. Scripta 00, 0000 (2004).
  15. "Collisions of Ions in the Highly-Charged Universe," A. Chutjian, XXIII Int. Conf. Photonic, Electron. Atomic Collisions, Book of Invited Papers (ed. R. Schuch, 2004), Phys. Scripta AT110, 203 (2004).
  16. "Miniaturized Gas Chromatograph-Paul Ion Trap System: Applications To Environmental Monitoring," B. J. Shortt, M. R. Darrach, Paul M. Holland, and A. Chutjian, SAE Technical Paper Series 2005-00-0000 (SAE, Warrendale, PA, in press).
  17. "Measurement of Absolute Cross Sections for Excitation of the 2s2 1S 6 2s2p 1Po Transitions in O4+," J. Smith, N. Djuri, J. A. Lozano, K. A. Berrington, and A. Chutjian, Ap. J. 630 1213 (2005).
  18. "Surface Charging and X-Ray Emission from Insulator Surfaces Induced by Collisions With Highly-Charged Ions: Relevance to Cometary Spectroscopy," N. Djuri, J. A. Lozano, S. J. Smith and A. Chutjian, Ap. J. 635, 718 (2005)
  19. "Measurement of Metastable Lifetimes for Transitions in Fe9+, Fe10+, and Fe13+," S. J. Smith, A. Chutjian, and J. A. Lozano, Phys. Rev. A 72, 062504 (2005).
  20. "Measurements of Polyatomic Molecule Formation on an Icy Grain Analog Using Fast Atoms," S. Madzunkov, B. J. Shortt, J. A. MacAskill, M. R. Darrach, and A. Chutjian, Phys. Rev. A 73, 020901(R) (2006).
  21. "Absolute Charge Exchange Cross Sections for Highly-Charged C, N, and Ne Ions on CO, H2O, and CO2," R. J. Mawhorter, N. Djuri, J. A. MacAskill, S. J. Smith, I. D. Williams, and A. Chutjian Phys. Rev. A 75, 032704 (2007).
  22. "Absolute Single and Multiple Charge Exchange Cross Sections For Highly Charged C, N, and O Ions Colliding with CH4 ," N. Djuric, S. J. Smith, J. Simcic, and A. Chutjian, Ap. J. 000, 0000 (2008) (in press).
  23. "Results Using the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor: A Miniature Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer for Trace Contamination Monitoring on the ISS and Orion," A. Chutjian, M. R. Darrach, B. J. Bornstein, A. P. Croonquist, E. Edgu-Fry, D. J. Fry, V. Garkanian, M. A. Girard, V. R. Haemmerle, W. M. Heinrichs, R. D. Kidd, S. Lee, J. A. MacAskill, L. Mandrake, T.M. Rust, R. T. Schaefer, J. L. Thomas, N. Toomarian, M. J. Walch, M. Christensen, D. Demonbrun, R. Vanholden, P. M. Holland, and B. J. Shortt, SAE Technical Paper Series (paper 08ICES-000, available at as a refereed conference proceeding).

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