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Measurement of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) in interplanetary dust particlesWe report here the first definitive measurements of specific organic molecules (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's)) in interplanetary dust particles (IDP's). An improved version of the microbeam-two-step laser mass spectrometer was used for the analysis. Two IDP's gave similar mass spectra showing an abundance of PAH's. Control samples, including particles of probable terrestrial origin from the same stratospheric collector, gave either null results or quite different spectra. We conclude that the PAH's are probably indigenous to the IDP's and are not terrestrial contaminants. The instrument used to study the particles is a two-step laser mass spectrometer. Constituent neutral molecules of the sample are first desorbed with a pulsed infrared laser beam focussed to 40 micrometers. In the second step, PAH's in the desorbed plume are preferentially ionized by a pulsed UV laser beam. Resulting ions produced by resonant absorption are extracted into a reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer. This instrument has high spatial resolution, high ion transmission, unlimited mass range, and multichannel detection of all ion masses from a single laser shot.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Clemett, S. J.
(Stanford Univ. CA, United States)
Maechling, C. R.
(Stanford Univ. CA, United States)
Zare, R. N.
(Stanford Univ. CA, United States)
Swan, P. D.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO., United States)
Walker, R. M.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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