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Identification of an interstellar oxide grain from the Murchison meteorite by ion imagingWe report here the first use of a new ion-imaging system to locate a rare interstellar aluminum oxide grain in a Murchison acid residue. While several types of carbon-rich interstellar grains, including graphite, diamond, SiC, and TiC, have previously been found, isotopically anomalous interstellar oxide grains have proven more elusive. We have developed an ion imaging system which allows us to map the isotopic composition of large numbers of grains relatively quickly and is, thus, ideally suited to search for isotopically exotic subsets of grains. The system consists of a PHOTOMETRICS CCD camera coupled to the microchannel plate/fluorescent screen of the WU modified CAMECA IMS-3F ion microprobe. Isotopic images of the sample surface are focused on the CCD and digitized. Subsequent image processing identifies individual grains in the images and determines isotopic ratios for each. For the present work, we have imaged in O-16 and O-18; negligible contributions of (17)OH(-) and (16)OH2(-) signals to the O-18 signal allow the use of low mass resolution, simplifying the measurements. Repeated imaging runs on terrestrial corundum particles showed that the system measures isotopic ratios reproducibly to about +/- 40%. Each imaging run took about six minutes to complete, and for this study there were on average 5-15 grains in each image. We have conducted imaging searches in 2-4 micron size separates of both Orgueil and Murchison.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Nittler, L. R.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Walker, R. M.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Zinner, E.
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Hoppe, P.
(Bern Univ. Switzerland)
Lewis, R. S.
(Chicago Univ. IL., 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 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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