Little is known about the abundance, distribution and chemical state of nitrogen in IDPs with the exceptions of the isotopic enrichment in 15N displayed by many particles [1-3], and the inferred association of nitrogen with polyaromatic hydrocarbons in some IDPs . Like carbon, nitrogen is strongly fractionated among meteoritic materials and it is well known that the most primitive carbon-rich meteorites also tend to have high nitrogen abundances . Nitrogen-bearing compounds are also a significant component of the carbonaceous material (CHON particles) sampled during the comet Halley encounter [e.g. 6]. We describe here the first reported detection and location of nitrogen concentrations in several IDPs using electron energy-loss spectroscopy. Three chondritic, anhydrous IDPs (L2011R11, L2008F13, and a fragment from L2006, cluster 14) were embedded in sulfur  and tranmission electron microscope (TEM) specimens were prepared by ultramicrotomy. The IDP thin sections were placed on copper TEM grids with SiO thin film substrates and analyzed using a JEOL 2010 TEM equipped with a thin-window energy-dispersive X-ray detector and a Gatan 666 parallel EELS spectrometer. We also analyzed W7027H14, a carbon-rich, chondritic-porous IDP that was embedded in epoxy. The EELS data from carbon-rich amorphous regions of the analyzed IDPs typically show a small, but distinct nitrogen edge at ~400 eV (Figure 1). The nitrogen is not homogeneously distributed in the carbonaceous material in the four IDPs analyzed to date, but occurs in "hot spots". However, these "hot spots" do not appear to be associated with a distinct N-bearing mineral (e.g. nitrides); the nitrogen is indigenous to the carbonaceous material in these IDPs. Although the quantitative N analyses using EELS are still in progress, the preliminary data from one IDP (L2011R11) indicates an upper N/C atom ratio of ~0.1, which is comparable to the chondritic value (N/C ~0.08, ). It should be noted however, that the SEM/EDX analysis of L2011R11 shows that it has a bulk C abundance of ~9 wt.% (nearly 3X the CI abundance), which indicates that, for this particle, the absolute N abundance is also enriched above CI levels. EELS is well-suited for this analysis because of its sensitivity for light element detection and quantification, and also for the additional data on bonding environment that can be deduced from the near-edge structure. References:  Stadermann F. J. et al. (1989) Meteoritics, 24, 327.  Stadermann F. J. et al. (1990) LPS XXI, 1190.  Messenger S. et al., this volume.  Clemett S. J. et al. (1993) Science, 262, 721.  Kerridge J. F. (1985) GCA, 49, 1707.  Fomenkova M. N. et al. (1994) GCA, 58, 4503.  Bradley J. P. et al. (1993) LPS XXIV, 173.  Anders E. and Grevesse N. (1989) GCA, 53, 197. FIGURE 1. Electron energy-loss data from carbonaceous material in L2011R11 (a pyroxene-rich, anhydrous IDP) showing detectable nitrogen associated with carbon. The lower spectrum is a 2nd difference spectrum of the raw data.
- Pub Date:
- September 1995
- INTERPLANETARY DUST PARTICLES;
- TRANSMISSION ELECTRON;
- ELECTRON ENERGY-LOSS