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Title: Gas cluster ion beam for the characterization of organic materials in submarine basalts as Mars analogs

Abstract

The solar system contains large quantities of organic compounds that can form complex molecular structures. The processing of organic compounds by biological systems leads to molecules with distinctive structural characteristics; thus, the detection and characterization of organic materials could lead to a high degree of confidence in the existence of extra-terrestrial life. Given the nature of the surface of most planetary bodies in the solar system, evidence of life is more likely to be found in the subsurface where conditions are more hospitable. Basalt is a common rock throughout the solar system and the primary rock type on Mars and Earth. Basalt is therefore a rock type that subsurface life might exploit and as such a suitable material for the study of methods required to detect and analyze organic material in rock. Telluric basalts from Earth represent an analog for extra-terrestrial rocks where the indigenous organic matter could be analyzed for molecular biosignatures. This study focuses on organic matter in the basalt with the use of surface analysis techniques utilizing Ar gas cluster ion beams (GCIB); time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), to characterize organic molecules. Tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) thermochemolysis was also usedmore » to support the data obtained using the surface analysis techniques. The authors demonstrate that organic molecules were found to be heterogeneously distributed within rock textures. A positive correlation was observed to exist between the presence of microtubule textures in the basalt and the organic compounds detected. From the results herein, the authors propose that ToF-SIMS with an Ar GCIB is effective at detecting organic materials in such geological samples, and ToF-SIMS combined with XPS and TMAH thermochemolysis may be a useful approach in the study of extra-terrestrial organic material and life.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1]; ; ;  [2]
  1. National EPSRC XPS Users' Service (NEXUS), School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Stephenson Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 7RU (United Kingdom)
  2. School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Devonshire Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 7RU (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22592861
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. A, Vacuum, Surfaces and Films; Journal Volume: 34; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: (c) 2016 American Vacuum Society; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; BASALT; ION BEAMS; ION MICROPROBE ANALYSIS; ION PAIRS; MASS SPECTROSCOPY; MICROTUBULES; MOLECULAR STRUCTURE; MOLECULES; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; ORGANIC MATTER; SOLAR SYSTEM; SUBMARINES; SURFACES; TIME-OF-FLIGHT METHOD; X-RAY PHOTOELECTRON SPECTROSCOPY

Citation Formats

Sano, Naoko, E-mail: naoko.sano@ncl.ac.uk, Barlow, Anders J., Cumpson, Peter J., Purvis, Graham W. H., Abbott, Geoffrey D., and Gray, Neil N. D. Gas cluster ion beam for the characterization of organic materials in submarine basalts as Mars analogs. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1116/1.4954940.
Sano, Naoko, E-mail: naoko.sano@ncl.ac.uk, Barlow, Anders J., Cumpson, Peter J., Purvis, Graham W. H., Abbott, Geoffrey D., & Gray, Neil N. D. Gas cluster ion beam for the characterization of organic materials in submarine basalts as Mars analogs. United States. doi:10.1116/1.4954940.
Sano, Naoko, E-mail: naoko.sano@ncl.ac.uk, Barlow, Anders J., Cumpson, Peter J., Purvis, Graham W. H., Abbott, Geoffrey D., and Gray, Neil N. D. Fri . "Gas cluster ion beam for the characterization of organic materials in submarine basalts as Mars analogs". United States. doi:10.1116/1.4954940.
@article{osti_22592861,
title = {Gas cluster ion beam for the characterization of organic materials in submarine basalts as Mars analogs},
author = {Sano, Naoko, E-mail: naoko.sano@ncl.ac.uk and Barlow, Anders J. and Cumpson, Peter J. and Purvis, Graham W. H. and Abbott, Geoffrey D. and Gray, Neil N. D.},
abstractNote = {The solar system contains large quantities of organic compounds that can form complex molecular structures. The processing of organic compounds by biological systems leads to molecules with distinctive structural characteristics; thus, the detection and characterization of organic materials could lead to a high degree of confidence in the existence of extra-terrestrial life. Given the nature of the surface of most planetary bodies in the solar system, evidence of life is more likely to be found in the subsurface where conditions are more hospitable. Basalt is a common rock throughout the solar system and the primary rock type on Mars and Earth. Basalt is therefore a rock type that subsurface life might exploit and as such a suitable material for the study of methods required to detect and analyze organic material in rock. Telluric basalts from Earth represent an analog for extra-terrestrial rocks where the indigenous organic matter could be analyzed for molecular biosignatures. This study focuses on organic matter in the basalt with the use of surface analysis techniques utilizing Ar gas cluster ion beams (GCIB); time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), to characterize organic molecules. Tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) thermochemolysis was also used to support the data obtained using the surface analysis techniques. The authors demonstrate that organic molecules were found to be heterogeneously distributed within rock textures. A positive correlation was observed to exist between the presence of microtubule textures in the basalt and the organic compounds detected. From the results herein, the authors propose that ToF-SIMS with an Ar GCIB is effective at detecting organic materials in such geological samples, and ToF-SIMS combined with XPS and TMAH thermochemolysis may be a useful approach in the study of extra-terrestrial organic material and life.},
doi = {10.1116/1.4954940},
journal = {Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. A, Vacuum, Surfaces and Films},
number = 4,
volume = 34,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}