[Previous] | [Session 39] | [Next]
E. Saperstein, K. M. Arnoult, T. J. Wdowiak, P. A. Gerakines (Astro- and Solar-System Physics Program, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham)
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been proposed as a component of interstellar dust. PAHs have also been positively identified in interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and in carbonaceous meteorites. Many such meteorites show strong evidence for aqueous alteration of their mineral phases, which can be spatially correlated to the presence of organics. This suggests the possibility that PAHs, incorporated into a meteorite parent body, may have been altered along with neighboring minerals and other constituents in the presence of liquid water.
We present preliminary results of the alteration of a laboratory analog of interstellar carbonaceous dust, produced by processing naphthalene in a hydrogen plasma, by exposing it to water at elevated temperature (100, 150, and 200 C) and pressure in a sealed container for 24 hours. This is a simulation of pressure capping during the accretion of the parent body. The high temperatures chosen here bring water near its critical point, at which it becomes extremely reactive. One sign of this reactivity is seen in the observed color of the aqueously altered product, changing from golden yellow (original color) to black at 200 C. Comparison of the infrared spectra of the original dust analog with those of the aqueously altered product show an oxidation feature at 1700 cm-1, present in all three products but absent in the dust analog. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of the aqueously altered product, refluxed in tetrahydrafuran, shows a variety of low retention peaks (<600 s), absent in the original dust analog.
If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries,
it is as follows:
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.