Pyrolysis–gas chromatography–isotope ratio mass spectrometry of macromolecular material in meteorites

Sephton, M. A. and Gilmour, Iain (2001). Pyrolysis–gas chromatography–isotope ratio mass spectrometry of macromolecular material in meteorites. Planetary and Space Science, 49(5) pp. 465–471.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0032-0633(00)00163-X

Abstract

A number of extraterrestrial objects, such as meteorites and interplanetary dust particles, are known to contain organic matter in the form of complex macromolecular materials. These organic networks constitute a useful record of the extraterrestrial environment in which they were formed. This record is most successfully accessed by using a combination of isotopic and structural data. However, obtaining this type of information with current analytical strategies involves relatively large amounts of precious extraterrestrial samples. We have assessed the ability of on-line pyrolysis–gas chromatography–isotope ratio mass spectrometry (Py–GC–IRMS) to obtain isotopic and structural information from the macromolecular material in the Murchison meteorite. Py–GC–IRMS provides results that are consistent with previously published data from other analytical strategies, but with considerably reduced sample sizes. Py–GC–IRMS can now be used to obtain combined isotopic and structural information from macromolecular materials in milligram-sized extraterrestrial samples.

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