Neon isotopes in individual presolar low‐density graphite grains from the Orgueil meteorite

Philipp R. Heck, Manavi Jadhav, Matthias M. M. Meier, Teruyuki Maruoka, Sachiko Amari, Ernst K. Zinner, Henner Busemann, Colin Maden, Frank Gyngard, Heinrich Baur, Rainer Wieler

Meteorit Planet Sci. . doi:10.1111/maps.13129


“We present He and Ne isotopes of individual presolar graphite grains from a low‐density separate from Orgueil. Two grain mounts were analyzed with the same techniques but in a different sequence: The first one was measured with NanoSIMS followed by noble gas mass spectrometry, and the second one in reverse order. No grain contained 4He and only one grain on the second mount contained 3He. On the first mount, the grains had been extensively sputtered with NanoSIMS ion beams prior to noble gas analysis; we found only one grain out of 15 with presolar 22Ne above detection limit. In contrast, we found presolar 22Ne in six out of seven grains on the second mount that was not exposed to an ion beam prior to noble gas analysis. All 22 grains on the two mounts were imaged with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and/or Auger microscopy. We present evidence that this contrasting observation is most likely due to e‐beam–induced heating of the generally smaller grains on the first mount during SEM and Auger imaging, and not primarily due to the NanoSIMS analysis. If thermal contact of the grains to the substrate is absent, such that heat can only be dissipated via radiation, then the smaller, sputter‐eroded grains are heated to higher temperatures such that noble gases can diffuse out. We discuss possible gas loss mechanisms and suggest solutions to reduce heating during e‐beam analyses by minimizing voltages, beam currents, and dwell times. We also found small amounts of 21Ne in five grains. Using isotope data we determined that the dominant sources of most grains are core‐collapse supernovae, congruent with earlier studies of low‐density presolar graphite from Murchison. Only two of the grains are most likely from AGB stars, and two others have an ambiguous origin. ”