Impact ionization mass spectra of anorthite cosmic dust analogue particles

Hillier, J. K.; Postberg, F.; Sestak, S.; Srama, R.; Kempf, S.; Trieloff, M.; Sternovsky, Z. and Green, S. F. (2012). Impact ionization mass spectra of anorthite cosmic dust analogue particles. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117 E09002.



Anorthite, the Ca-rich end-member of plagioclase feldspar, is a dominant mineral component of the Lunar highlands. Plagioclase feldspar is also found in comets, meteorites and stony asteroids. It is therefore expected to contribute to the population of interplanetary (and circumplanetary) dust grains within the solar system. After coating micron- and submicron-sized grains of Anorthite with a conductive layer of Platinum, the mineral was successfully accelerated to hypervelocity speeds in the Max Planck Institut für Kernphysik’s Van de Graaff accelerator. We present impact ionization mass spectra generated following the impacts of anorthite grains with a prototype mass spectrometer (the Large Area Mass Analyser, LAMA) designed for use in space, and discuss the behavior of the spectra with increasing impact energy. Correlation analysis is used to identify the compositions and sources of cations present in the spectra, enabling the identification of several molecular cations (e.g., CaAlO2, CaSiO2, Ca2AlO3/CaAlSi2O2) which identify anorthite as the progenitor bulk grain material.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions