Temperature dependent mid-infrared (5–25 μm) reflectance spectroscopy of carbonaceous meteorites and minerals: Implication for remote sensing in Solar System exploration

Giovanni Poggiali, John R. Brucato, Elisabetta Dotto, Simone Ieva, Antonella Barucci, Maurizio Pajola

In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 9 August 2020


“Interpretation of spectroscopic data from remote sensing strongly depends on the spectroscopic properties, particle size and temperature of materials present on the observed surface. Spectral indices of silicates, carbonates, sulfates, oxides and chemicals available on public database are commonly obtained at room temperature and pressure. Hitherto, few studies were performed by analyzing the effects of space environment such as low pressure and temperature on spectroscopic features of minerals, mostly focused on near infrared spectral region. In particular, whether temperature can affect spectral properties of minerals such as the peak emissivity position, band area and shape, was advanced decades ago, but a systematic laboratory study on such effects is still missing. This is especially lacking in the mid-infrared region, where laboratory data are almost completely absent. Thus, it is pivotal to acquire spectra in vacuum both at various temperatures and with variable particle sizes, for better simulating space environmental conditions.

Our experimental apparatus at INAF-Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri allows reflectance measurements in an extended spectral range from VIS to far IR and at temperatures ranging from 64 K to 500 K. We present here a detailed analysis on temperature-dependent variation on mineral and carbonaceous chondrite samples in the spectral range 1500–400 cm−1 (6.6–25 μm in wavelength). Mineral phases and meteorites analyzed are: pyroxene, olivine, serpentine, Tagish Lake (CI2-ungruped), Aguas Zarcas (CM2) and Orgueil (CI1). Samples are prepared with particle sizes <20 μm, <200 μm, and 200–500 μm. Our results show that temperature induces spectral features modifications such as peak position shifts, band area and peak intensity changes. Such modifications are reversible with temperature and the trend of variation is related to the sample composition and hydration level. Moreover, magnitude of temperature-dependent spectroscopic changes is strongly linked with grain size and composition, hence making this type of analysis pivotal for a correct interpretation of data collected by space telescopes and orbital spacecrafts.”