The aerodynamic levitation laser furnace allows us to heat spherical samples to extreme temperatures (>3000 °C) while they are being levitated on a flow of gas. We use this instrument to synthesize novel glasses and other materials of geological and planetary interest, like micrometeorites and tektites.Because the experiments are containerless, we can investigate conditions at high temperatures without contamination or loss of material due to interaction with crucible walls or contact with wires. The device can also achieve very high cooling rates, allowing for the vitrification of fragile melts like forsterite. Gas mixing allows us to control the atmosphere in the chamber, buffering the oxygen fugacity of the sample to replicate a wide range of planetary processes.
The piston-cylinder apparatus allows us to replicate the pressure and temperature conditions of the lower crust and upper mantle. We use this instrument to conduct experiments involving partial melting, mineral solubility, and solid-state mineral reactions at high P-T.