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 Planetary Science: People
Isik  Kanik's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Isik Kanik

  • Ph.D. in Physics, University of California, Riverside, California, USA (1988)

Research Interests
  • Laboratory Spectroscopy: UV emission, laser spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, ionization techniques) relevant to planetary atmospheres and astrophysical plasmas
  • In situ Instrumentation/Detection Techniques: Miniature mass spectrometers and ion mobility spectrometry, differential Mobility spectrometry, sample extraction, sample handling techniques and detection

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. (1995 - Present)
    • Senior Research Scientist (2006 - Present)
    • Section Manager, Planetary and Life Detection Section (over 120 Ph. D. Scientists) (2004 - 2009)
    • Principal Scientist (2002-Present)
    • Lead Scientist, Instrument Development and Spectroscopy Research Element (2001 - 2004)
    • Research Scientist and Team Leader, The Atomic and Molecular Collision Research Element (1995-2001)
    • Scientist (1992 - 1995)
  • National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Research Associate, (1990 - 1992)
  • Adjunct Professor of Physics, California State University, Fullerton, (1996-Present)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA, (1988-1989)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Award Electron Collisions Team (2011)
  • NASA Certificate of Recognition (2004) for a new technique called "Miniature Focusing Time-of-Flight Spectrometer"
  • JPL Explorer Award for Strategic Road Map and implementation for Planetary Science
  • Elected Fellow of The Institute of Physics (2001)
  • NASA Certificate of Recognition (2001) for a new technique called "Proton-Transfer-Reaction-Ion-Mobility Spectrometry" (2001)
  • Guest Editor for Physics and Chemistry of Earth, Published by the European Geophysical Society (2000)
  • JPL Exceptional Technical Excellence Award (Individual) (1999)
  • American Men and Women of Science (1997-98) edition
  • International Who's Who (American Biographical Institute, 1998 edition)
  • JPL Technology and Applications Programs Group Achievement Award (1997)
  • National Research Council, Resident Research Fellowship Award (1990-92)
  • Dean's List for Outstanding Student (1985-1988); Univ. of California, Riverside
  • Ministry of Education Fellowship Award for Ph. D. Degree (1982), (TURKEY)

Selected Publications


  1. McGlynn, S. E., Kanik, I. and Russell, M. J. Peptide and RNA contributions to iron-sulphur chemical gardens as life's first inorganic compartments, catalysts, capacitors and condensers, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, (2012) 370 , 3007-3022.
  2. Barge Laura M.; Doloboff Ivria J.; White Lauren M.; et al. Characterization of Iron-Phosphate-Silicate Chemical Garden Structures,Langmuir , 28 (2012) Issue: 8 Pages: 3714-3721.
  3. Sokol, E. Robert J. Noll, R. Graham Cooks, Luther W. Beegle, Hugh I. Kim, Isik Kanik, Miniature mass spectrometer equipped with electrospray and desorption electrospray ionization for direct analysis of organics from solids and solutions, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 306 (2011) 187- 195.
  4. Russell, M.J., Kanik, I. (2010) Why Does Life Start, What Does It Do, Where Will It Be, And How Might We Find It? Journal of Cosmology, 5, 1008-1039.
  5. Mielke Randall E.; Russell Michael J.; Wilson Philip R.; et al. Design, Fabrication, and Test of a Hydrothermal Reactor for Origin-of-Life Experiments Astrobiology Volume: 10 Issue: 8 Pages: 799-810 DOI: 10.1089/ast.2009.0456 Published: (2010).
  6. Allwood Abigail C.; Grotzinger John P.; Knoll Andrew H.; et al. Controls on development and diversity of Early Archean stromatolites Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Volume: 106 Issue: 24 Pages: 9548-9555 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903323106 Published: (2009).
  7. R. Hodyss, P. V. Johnson, J. V. Stern, J. D. Goguen, and I. Kanik, Photochemistry of Methane-Water Ices, Icarus, 200, 338-342 (2009).
  8. R. P. Hodyss, J. D. Goguen, P. V. Johnson, C. Campbell, and I. Kanik, Release of N2, CH4, CO2, and H2O from surface ices on Enceladus, Icarus, 197, 152-156 (2008).
  9. Beegle LW, Johnson PV, Hoydess R, Mielke R., Orzechowska GE, Sollitt L, Kanik I., Toward the in situ quantification of organic molecules in solid samples: Development of sample handling and processing hardware Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 72, A66 (2008).
  10. M. A. Khakoo, S. Wang, R. Laher, P. V. Johnson, C. P. Malone, and I. Kanik, Direct evidence for channel-coupling effects in molecules: electron impact excitation of the a″ 1+gstate of N2, Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics: Fast Track Communication, 40, F167-F173 (2007). [Selected among J. Phys. B Highlights of 2007]
  11. Kanik I., Noren, C., Makarov, O., and Ajello, J. M.,"Electron Impact Dissociative Excitation of O2.II: Emission Cross Sections of OI (130.4 nm) and OI (135.6 nm)" J. Geophys. Res., 108, 11,040 (2003).
  12. Makarov, O., Kanik, I., and Ajello, J. M. "Electron Impact Dissociative Excitation of O2.I: Kinetic Energy Distributions of Fast Oxygen Atoms" J. Geophys. Res., 108, 11,029 (2003).
  13. Johnson, P. V., Kanik, I., Shemansky, D. E. and Xiaming, L., "Electron-Impact Emission Cross Section of Atomic Oxygen in the Ultraviolet Spectral Region" J. Phys. B, 36, 3203 (2003).
  14. Kanik I., Johnson, P. V., Das, M. B., Khakoo, M. A., and Tayal, S. S., "Electron Impact Studies on Atomic Oxygen. I: Differential and Integral Cross Sections; Experiment and Theory" J. Phys. B, 34, 2647 (2001).
  15. Beegle, L. W., Kanik, I., Markowski, L. and Hill Jr., H. H., "Electrospray-Ionization High-Resolution Ion Mobility Spectrometry for Detection of Organic Compounds I: Amino Acids" Anal. Chem., 73, 3028 (2001).
  16. Kanik I., Beegle, L. W., Ajello, J. M., and Solomon, S. C., "Excitation, Emission and Photoabsorption Cross Sections Important in the Terrestrial Airglow and Auroral analysis of Rocket and Satellite Observations", Phys. and Chem. of Earth (C), 25, 573 (2000).
  17. Kanik I., Beegle, L. W., Noren, C., Ahmed, S. M., and Link, R., "Temperature Dependent Photoabsorption Cross Section Measurements of O2 at the N I Airglow and Auroral Emission Lines" Chem. Phys. Lett., 279, 297 (1997).
  18. Ahmed, S. M., Kanik, I. and Link, R., "Temperature Dependent Photoabsorption Cross Section Measurements of O2 at O I 1304-Å Triplet Emission Lines" Chem. Phys. Lett., 259, 545 (1996).
  19. Kanik I., James, G. K. and Ajello, J. M. "Medium-Resolution Studies of Extreme-Ultraviolet Emission From CO by Electron Impact", Phys. Rev. A, 51, 2067 (1995).
  20. Kanik I., Trajmar S., and Nickel J. C. "Total electron scattering and electronic state excitation cross sections for O2, CO, and CH4." J. Geophys. Res., 98, 7447, (1993).
  21. Kanik I., McCollum D.C., Nickel J.C., "Absolute elastic differential scattering cross sections for electron impact on carbon dioxide in the intermediate energy region" J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Phys. 22, 1225 (1989).


  1. McConkey,J. W., Malone, C. P., Johnson, P. V., Winstead, C., McKoy, V. and I. Kanik, I., Electron Impact Dissociation of Oxygen-Containing Molecules - A Critical review, Physics Reports 466, 1-103 (2008).
  2. Johnson, P.V., Beegle, L.W., Kim, H. I., Eiceman, G. A., and Kanik, I., "Ion Mobility Spectrometry in Space Exploration", Int. J. of Mass Spect. 262 1-15 (2007)
  3. Johnson, P. V., McConkey, J. W, Tayal, S. S. and Kanik, I., "Collisions of Electrons with Atomic Oxygen: Current Status", Can. J. Phys., 83, 589 (2005).


  1. Johnson, P.V., Beegle, L. W. and Kanik, I., Mass Spectrometry in Solar System Exploration in Handbook of Mass Spectrometry, Ed. M. S. Lee, John Wiley and Sons (2012).

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