Mass-independent fractionation of titanium isotopes and its cosmochemical implications

François Robert, Romain Tartèse, Guillaume Lombardi, Peter Reinhardt, Mathieu Roskosz, Béatrice Doisneau, Zhengbin Deng & Marc Chaussidon

Nature Astronomy (2020)


“Isotopes of heavy elements are produced in various amounts by nuclear processes in stars. Consequently, the presence of isotopic anomalies in the Solar System is considered to reflect the presence of presolar grains condensed in previous generations of stars and not a (proto-) Solar System process. However, for oxygen, the major rock-forming element, it has been shown that physico-chemical reactions applicable to the presolar cloud or the protoplanetary disk were a possible source of isotopic variations due to mass-independent isotopic fractionation (MIF). Here we show that MIF effects are not restricted to oxygen, but can also be produced for titanium. Titanium-rich grains experimentally condensed from a TiCl4(g)/C5H12(g) plasma exhibit MIF effects from −25% to +120% for all Ti isotopic ratios. These large Ti isotopic variations follow the model developed for oxygen MIF and mimic the Ti isotopic anomalies observed in some presolar grains. This effect is ascribed to the reactions between chemically indistinguishable isotopes and could contribute to the complexity of isotopic anomalies observed in Solar System materials”