TEM Analyses of Unusual Presolar Silicon Carbide: Insights into the Range of Circumstellar Dust Condensation ConditionsOPEN ACCESS 

S. A. Singerling, N. Liu, L. R. Nittler, C. M. O’D. Alexander, and R. M. Stroud

The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 913, Number 2
Published: 27 May 2021


Update (31 May 2021):

63 pages, 19 figures (9 within the text, 10 within the appendix), 10 tables (3 within the text, 7 within the appendix but not included in pdf–contact first author for Excel file)

“Presolar silicon carbide (SiC) grains in meteoritic samples can help constrain circumstellar condensation processes and conditions in C-rich stars and core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe). This study presents our findings on eight presolar SiC grains from asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars (four mainstream and one Y grain) and CCSNe (three X grains), chosen on the basis of μ-Raman spectral features that were indicative of their having unusual non-3C polytypes and/or high degrees of crystal disorder. Analytical transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which provides elemental compositional and structural information, shows evidence for complex histories for the grains. Our TEM results confirm the presence of non-3C,2H crystal domains. Minor-element heterogeneities and/or subgrains were observed in all grains analyzed for their compositions. The C/O ratios inferred for the parent stars varied from 0.98 to ≥1.03. Our data show that SiC condensation can occur under a wide range of conditions, in which environmental factors other than temperature (e.g., pressure, gas composition, heterogeneous nucleation on precondensed phases) play a significant role. Based on previous μ-Raman studies, ~10% of SiC grains may have infrared (IR) spectral features that are influenced by crystal defects, porosity, and/or subgrains. Future sub-diffraction-limited IR measurements of complex SiC grains might shed further light on the relative contributions of each of these features to the shape and position of the characteristic IR 11 μm SiC feature and thus improve the interpretation of IR spectra of AGB stars like those that produced the presolar SiC grains.”