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Accession Number N20120011807
Title Coordinated STEM/FIB/NanoSIMS Analyses of Presolar Silicates in Comet Dust and Primitive Meteorites.
Publication Date Jul 2012
Media Count 2p
Personal Author A. Nguyen L. Keller S. Messenger Z. Rahman
Abstract Silicate grains were among the most abundant mineralogical building blocks of our Solar System. These grains were the detritus from earlier generations of stars that have been recycled in the early solar nebula. Rare sub-micrometer survivors of this processing have been identified in meteorites, micrometeorites and interplanetary dust particles (IDPs). These silicate grains are recognized as presolar in origin because of their extremely anomalous isotopic compositions that reflect nucleosynthetic processes in their stellar sources (evolved stars, novae and supernovae). We perform coordinated chemical, mineralogical and isotopic studies of these grains to determine their origins and histories. We examine the complex mineralogy and petrography of presolar silicates using imaging, diffraction and chemical data obtained from thin sections with the JSC JEOL 2500 field-emission STEM equipped with a Noran thin window energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) spectrometer and a Gatan Tridiem GIF. Quantitative element x-ray maps (spectrum images) are acquired by rastering a 4 nm incident probe whose dwell time is minimized to avoid beam damage and element diffusion during mapping. Successive image layers are acquired and combined in order to achieve approx 1% counting statistics for major elements. The IDP samples are prepared by ultramicrotomy of particles embedded in epoxy or elemental sulfur. After EDX mapping, the sections are subjected to C, N, and O isotopic imaging with the JSC NanoSIMS 50L ion microprobe. We prepare sections of some meteorite grains using the JSC FEI Quanta 3D focused ion beam (FIB) instrument. The specimen surface is protected from the FIB milling process by layers of electron beam-deposited C and Pt followed by an ion-deposited Pt layer. We also use the FIB to preferentially remove surrounding grains to reduce the background in subsequent NanoSIMS measurements. For mineralogical studies, we again employ the FIB instrument to deposit a protective cap over the grain of interest and then extract the grain and thin it to electron transparency for TEM analysis.
Keywords Field emission
Imaging techniques
Interplanetary dust
Ion beams
Ion probes
Pre-main sequence stars
Scanning tunneling microscopy
Secondary ion mass spectrometry
Solar nebula
Solar system
Solar system evolution
Star formation
Stellar evolution
X ray spectrometers

Source Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NTIS Subject Category 54 - Astronomy & Astrophysics
84B - Extraterrestial Exploration
Corporate Author National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Houston, TX. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
Document Type Conference proceedings
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1301
Contract Number N/A

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