Even tiny dust particles have a rich history, especially if they came to us from far space. Meteorites contain motes that originate from dying stars. It is from such raw materials 4.6 billion years ago appeared the solar planets and asteroids. A recent study shows that the mass of particles of silicate star dust in meteorites is twice as large as previously thought.
To study the applied ion probe NanoSIMS and created maps of meteorite samples. They are able to demonstrate a detailed distribution of isotopes in the submicron range. To begin with, the sample is scanned with an ion beam, and then spectrometry is used. To get a clearer result, the beam was narrowed to 100 nanometers.
First detection: (b) hot spot with a 130-nanometer silicate stellar grain. Many such particles can only be traced with a reduced ion beam. The picture shows the isotopic volumes of oxygen (a) and silicon (c), as well as the ratio of aluminum and oxygen (d) The researchers were able to find a huge number of “hot spots” with anomalous isotopic abundance in meteorites. This indicates the presence of silicate star dust. Conclusions suggest that this dust occupies a few percent in the interstellar proto-mass of our system. So she played an important role in the formation of objects.
The main component of silicate is oxygen. Silicate grains cannot be separated chemically, so they were not noticed for a long time. Only in 2002, the probe NanoSIMS coped with the task. Hot spots are called sites with an abundance of isotopes. With their help, you can identify the parent stars.