Analysis of interplanetary dust particles by soft and hard x-ray microscopy

G. J. Flynn*, L. P. Keller, S. Wirick, C. Jacobsen, S. R. Sutton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), fragments from asteroids and comets, contain important clues to the conditions in the solar nebula when dust was forming, provide evidence of the chemical and physical properties of their parent bodies, and may have been an important source of pre-biotic organic matter on the early Earth. We mapped the spatial distributions in IDPs of C, O, K, and Ca using a scanning transmission x-ray microscope and of Fe, Ni, Zn, Sr and Br using fluorescence microtomography. In addition, we obtained carbon and oxygen x-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectra of the C-rich regions, identifying the C-ring and C=O functional groups, and Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) spectra, identifying the aliphatic C-H2 and C-H3 functional groups. The C-mapping indicates that IDPs contain anywhere from a few wt-% up to 90 wt-% carbon, much more carbon than is found in the most carbon-rich meteorites, and C- and O-XANES demonstrate that a significant fraction of this carbon is organic. The Ca, K, Fe, Ni, Zn, Sr, and Br maps allow inference of the host phases of these elements and place constraints on surface contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalJournal De Physique. IV : JP
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Event7th International Conference on X-Ray Microscopy - Grenoble, France
Duration: Jul 28 2002Aug 2 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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