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Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms article in press (2012)
Extraterrestrial materials examined by mean of nuclear microprobe
H. Khodja1, 2, T. Smith1, 2, C. Engrand3, G. Herzog, C. Raepsaet1, 2
(2012)

Comet fragments, micrometeorites, and Interplanetary Dust Particles (IDPs) are small objects (<1 mm) of high scientific interest in cosmochemistry. More particularly, the determination of light element concentrations, such as C and N, in cometary samples is of interest since it gives information on the regions where such materials formed. Analyses of such objects should be performed so as to extract as much information as possible while preserving sample integrity. For this purpose, we need instruments and methods that provide both microanalysis and detailed imaging. In these respects, the nuclear microprobe offers many potential advantages: (i) the spatial resolution, ∼ 1μm is well-matched to the typical object dimensions, (ii) with some reservations, it is non-destructive when carefully conducted, (iii) it is quantitative, and especially sensitive for light elements. At the Saclay nuclear microprobe, we have been performing analyses of extraterrestrial objects for many years. We review some of these studies, emphasizing the specific requirements for successful analyses. We also discuss the potential pitfalls that may be encountered.
1:  IRAMIS - Institut Rayonnement Matière de Saclay (ex DRECAM)
2:  LEEL - UMR 3299 - Laboratoire d'Etudes des Eléments Légers
3:  CSNSM - Centre de Spectrométrie Nucléaire et de Spectrométrie de Masse
CSNSM AS
Physics/Astrophysics/Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

Sciences of the Universe/Astrophysics/Earth and Planetary Astrophysics