Meteorite nanoparticles as models for interstellar grains: synthesis and preliminary characterisation

M. N. Mautner, V. Abdelsayed, M. S. El-Shall, J D Thrower, S D Green, M. P. Collings, M. R. S. McCoustra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Dust particles and their interaction with gases play important roles in star formation and in solar nebulae. Appropriate model dust grains are needed for the laboratory simulation of gas - grain interactions. Nanoparticles formed from carbonaceous meteorites may be particularly suitable, as these particles are formed from materials that were formed originally from interstellar/nebula dust. Extending our previous studies with grounded meteorite powders, we demonstrate here the production of nanoparticles formed from meteorites using the laser desorption/ controlled condensation method developed in our laboratory. The product nanoparticle aggregates have porous, web-like morphologies similar to interstellar dust grains, indicating that they can present large specific surface areas for gas/grain interactions. In this paper, we present polarisation modulation reflection - absorption infrared spectra (PM-RAIRS) of supported thin films and compare these spectra with the known silicate bands in the spectra of interstellar dust recorded during the ISO mission. We also report an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) temperature programmed desorption (TPD) study of the adsorption of CO on the supported nanoparticle films. The latter allow us to estimate the CO binding energy on the meteorite nanoparticles as 13.5 +/- 3.0 kJ mol(-1), cf. a value of 9.8 +/- 0.2 kJ mol(-1) for CO binding to a water ice substrate. Such thermochemical data can be useful for computational modelling of gas - grain interactions under the diverse conditions in interstellar clouds and solar nebulae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalFaraday Discussions
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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