Scanning electron microscopical and cross-sectional analysis of extraterrestrial carbonaceous nanoglobules

  • Garvie L
  • Baumgardner G
  • Buseck P
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Carbonaceous nanoglobules are ubiquitous in carbonaceous chondrite (CC) meteorites. The Tagish Lake (C2) meteorite is particularly intriguing in containing an abundance of nanoglobules, with a wider range of forms and sizes than encountered in other CC meteorites. Previous studies by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) have provided a wealth of information on chemistry and structure. In this study, low-voltage scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to characterize the globule forms and external structures. The internal structure of the globules was investigated after sectioning by focused ion beam (FIB) milling. The FIB-SEM analysis shows that the globules range from solid to hollow. Some hollow globules show a central open core, with adjoining smaller cores. The FIB with an SEM is a valuable tool for the analysis of extraterrestrial materials, even of sub-micron ``soft'' carbonaceous particles. The rapid site-specific cross-sectioning capabilities of the FIB allow the preservation of the internal morphology of the nanoglobules, with minimal damage or alteration of the unsectioned areas.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Carbon
  • Macromolecular material
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • carbonaceous chondrite Meteorites

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  • Laurence A J Garvie

  • Grant Baumgardner

  • Peter R Buseck

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