Raman spectroscopy of irradiated organic matter

Court, Richard; Sephton, Mark; Parnell, J. and Gilmour, Iain (2007). Raman spectroscopy of irradiated organic matter. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 71(10) pp. 2547–2568.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2007.03.001


Raman spectroscopy of a range of irradiated and nonirradiated natural terrestrial bitumens has revealed that radiolytic alteration is generally associated with an increase in structural disorganisation. An interpretational methodology designed to overcome the considerable difficulties in obtaining reproducible, meaningful parameters of structural disorganisation is also presented, and should prove useful for future Raman applications. Raman investigation of a set of bitumens reported to have formed by the radiolytic polymerisation of light hydrocarbons, such as methane, has revealed excessive structural disorganisation, relative to biogenic complex-hydrocarbon-derived bitumens of similar radioelement concentrations, which may indicate the importance of precursor materials on the organic products of irradiation. Variations in the R1 ratio (D1/G band intensity) are found to be the best guide to variations in structural organisation. Comparisons of Raman spectra of the same sample, but produced by different exciting wavelengths, reveal the importance of the selection of a suitable laser wavelength. The results are discussed in terms of analyses of irradiated organic matter in the solar system, especially cometary nuclei and carbonaceous chondrites.

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