Nucleation experiments on a titanium-carbon system imply nonclassical formation of presolar grainsOPEN ACCESS 

Yuki Kimura, Kyoko K. Tanaka, Yuko Inatomi, Coskun Aktas, and Jürgen Blum

Science Advances
13 Jan 2023
Vol 9, Issue 2


“Just as the shapes of snowflakes provide us with information on the temperature and humidity of the upper atmosphere, the characteristics of presolar grains in meteorites place limits on their formation environment in a stellar outflow. However, even in the case of well-characterized presolar grains consisting of a titanium carbide core and a graphitic carbon mantle, it is not possible to delimit their formation environment. Here, we have demonstrated the formation of core-mantle grains in gravitational and microgravity environments and have found that core-mantle grains are formed by a nonclassical nucleation pathway involving the three steps: (i) primary nucleation of carbon at a substantially high supersaturation, (ii) heterogeneous condensation of titanium carbide on the carbon, and (iii) fusion of nuclei. We argue that the characteristics of not only core-mantle grains but also other presolar and solar grains might be accurately explained by considering a nonclassical nucleation pathway.”