Personal profile


May 2003

D.Phil in Chemistry - The Electronic Spectrum of Selenium Dioxide

Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford.


June 1999

M.Chem (Hons) in Chemistry


Part II project – The Electronic Spectrum of Copper Dichloride

Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford.

Research interests

My research focuses on using the RELAX mass spectrometer to analyse xenon isotope ratios in a variety of solar system materials.

Noble gases are key tracers of Solar System evolution, and xenon is particularly important because its nine isotope allow multiple contributing sources to be identified. The sun, asteroids, and comets have different xenon isotopic compositions. Several radioactive species decay to produce characteristic xenon signatures, and exposure of samples to cosmic rays also produces xenon isotopes.

RELAX (Refrigerator Enhanced Laser Analyser for Xenon) is an ultra sensitive, time of flight, resonance ionisation mass spectrometer specifically for measuring xenon isotope ratios. It is the most sensitive, and lowest blank, instrument currently available for determination of xenon isotope ratios - the detection limit is ~1000 atoms132Xe, and is limited only by variation in the blank, which is currently ~1000 atoms 132Xe. At peak sensitivity sample sizes are restricted to ~106atoms. Repeat analyses of air calibration samples are reproducible, allowing precise and accurate isotope ratios to be determined by averaging multiple analyses.

I have recently conducted xenon isotopic and iodine-xenon analyses of samples from the asteroid Ryugu collected by JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission, as part of the Hayabusa2 Initial Analysis Volatiles Team. I also conducted similar analyses of the Winchcombe meteorite that fell in the UK in February 2021

I am currently part of the Sample Analysis Team for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission that delivered samples from the asteroid Bennu to Earth in September 2023.

A large part of my research focuses on iodine-xenon (I-Xe) dating of meteorites, to understand the timing of events in the early Solar System.

I have previously worked on analysis material returned by NASA's Genesis and Stardust missions, and JAXA’s Hayabusa mission

My group

Further information

Public Engagement

I regularly organise and run a wide variety of public engagement events and activities with the Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry Group. These activities range from taking part in large events like Bluedot Festival and the Manchester Science Festival, to school visits and talks to local interest groups.

To keep up to date with upcoming events please visit the Earth and Solar System blog. Or follow our activities via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our YouTube channel .

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The Electronic Spectrum of Selenium Dioxide, Oxford University

Oct 1999May 2003

Master of Chemistry, The Electronic Spectum of Copper Dichloride, Oxford University

Oct 1995Jun 1999


Dive into the research topics where Sarah Crowther is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • Iodine-Xenon Analysis of Material from Asteroid Ryugu Returned by the Hayabusa2 Mission

    Hayabusa2 Initial Analysis Volatile Team, 2024.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

  • Xenon Isotopic Analysis of Individual Intermediate Particles from the OSIRIS-REx Sample of Asteroid Bennu

    Crowther, S., Gilmour, J., Cowpe, J., Fawcett, L., Barnes, J. J., Nguyen, A. N., Jr, H. C. C. & Lauretta, D. S., 2024.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

  • The noble gas and nitrogen relationship between Ryugu and carbonaceous chondrites

    Broadley, M. W., Byrne, D. J., Füri, E., Zimmermann, L., Marty, B., Okazaki, R., Yada, T., Kitajima, F., Tachibana, S., Yogata, K., Sakamoto, K., Yurimoto, H., Nakamura, T., Noguchi, T., Naraoka, H., Yabuta, H., Watanabe, S., Tsuda, Y., Nishimura, M., Nakato, A., & 44 othersMiyazaki, A., Abe, M., Okada, T., Usui, T., Yoshikawa, M., Saiki, T., Tanaka, S., Terui, F., Nakazawa, S., Busemann, H., Hashizume, K., Gilmour, J. D., Meshik, A., Riebe, M. E. I., Krietsch, D., Maden, C., Ishida, A., Clay, P., Crowther, S. A., Fawcett, L., Lawton, T., Pravdivtseva, O., Miura, Y. N., Park, J., Bajo, K., Takano, Y., Yamada, K., Kawagucci, S., Matsui, Y., Yamamoto, M., Righter, K., Sakai, S., Iwata, N., Shirai, N., Sekimoto, S., Inagaki, M., Ebihara, M., Yokochi, R., Nishiizumi, K., Nagao, K., Lee, J. I., Kano, A., Caffee, M. W. & Uemura, R., 15 Mar 2023, In: Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 345, p. 62-74

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
  • Xenon and I-Xe Analysis of the Winchcombe (CM2) Meteorite

    Crowther, S., Cowpe, J., King, A. J., Clay, P. L. & Gilmour, J., 2023.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

  • First asteroid gas sample delivered by the Hayabusa2 mission: A treasure box from Ryugu

    Okazaki, R., Miura, Y. N., Takano, Y., Sawada, H., Sakamoto, K., Yada, T., Yamada, K., Kawagucci, S., Matsui, Y., Hashizume, K., Ishida, A., Broadley, M. W., Marty, B., Byrne, D., Füri, E., Meshik, A., Pravdivtseva, O., Busemann, H., Riebe, M. E. I., Gilmour, J., & 104 othersPark, J., Bajo, K-I., Righter, K., Sakai, S., Sekimoto, S., Kitajima, F., Crowther, S. A., Iwata, N., Shirai, N., Ebihara, M., Yokochi, R., Nishiizumi, K., Nagao, K., Lee, J. I., Clay, P., Kano, A., Caffee, M. W., Uemura, R., Inagaki, M., Krietsch, D., Maden, C., Yamamoto, M., Fawcett, L., Lawton, T., Nakamura, T., Naraoka, H., Noguchi, T., Yabuta, H., Yurimoto, H., Tsuda, Y., Watanabe, S-I., Abe, M., Arakawa, M., Fujii, A., Hayakawa, M., Hirata, N., Hirata, N., Honda, R., Honda, C., Hosoda, S., Iijima, Y-I., Ikeda, H., Ishiguro, M., Ishihara, Y., Iwata, T., Kawahara, K., Kikuchi, S., Kitazato, K., Matsumoto, K., Matsuoka, M., Michikami, T., Mimasu, Y., Miura, A., Morota, T., Nakazawa, S., Namiki, N., Noda, H., Noguchi, R., Ogawa, N., Ogawa, K., Okada, T., Okamoto, C., Ono, G., Ozaki, M., Saiki, T., Sakatani, N., Senshu, H., Shimaki, Y., Shirai, K., Sugita, S., Takei, Y., Takeuchi, H., Tanaka, S., Tatsumi, E., Terui, F., Tsukizaki, R., Wada, K., Yamada, M., Yamada, T., Yamamoto, Y., Yano, H., Yokota, Y., Yoshihara, K., Yoshikawa, M., Yoshikawa, K., Furuya, S., Hatakeda, K., Hayashi, T., Hitomi, Y., Kumagai, K., Miyazaki, A., Nakato, A., Nishimura, M., Soejima, H., Iwamae, A., Yamamoto, D., Yogata, K., Yoshitake, M., Fukai, R., Usui, T., Ireland, T., Connolly, H. C., Lauretta, D. S. & Tachibana, S., 20 Oct 2022, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Science Advances. p. eabo7239

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access