Presolar nanodiamonds: Faster, cleaner, and limits on platinum-HL

Silke Merchel, Ulrich Ott, Siegfried Herrmann, Bernhard Spettel, Thomas Faestermann, Klaus Knie, Gunther Korschinek, Georg Rugel, Anton Wallner

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We have developed a procedure that allows extraction of clean nanodiamond samples from primitive meteorites for isotopic analyses of trace elements on a timescale of just a week. This procedure includes microwave digestion and optimization of existing isolation techniques for further purification. Abundances of trace elements that are difficult to dissolve using standard procedures (e.g., Ir) are lower in the diamond residues prepared using the new technique. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was explored as a means for isotopic measurements. Results obtained on diamond fractions from Allende and Murchison show the need for suitable matrix-adjusted standards to correct for fractionation effects; nevertheless they allow putting an upper limit on the abundance of 198Pt-H in nanodiamonds of ∼1 × 1014 atoms/g. This limit is on the order of what can be expected from predictions of competing nucleosynthesis models and extrapolation of the apparently mass dependent abundance trend of the associated noble gases. Unfortunately, and unexpectedly, presolar silicon carbide is almost quantitatively dissolved during microwave digestion with HCl/HF/HNO3. Re-evaluation of the standard extraction technique, however, shows that it also may lead to severe loss of fine-grained SiC, a fact not commonly appreciated. A lower limit to SiC abundance in Murchison is 20 ppm, and previous conclusions that Murchison SiC is unusually coarse-grained compared to SiC in other primitive meteorites seem not to be warranted. Graphite and silicon nitride may survive and possibly can be separated after this step as suggested by a simulation experiment using terrestrial analog material, but the detailed behavior of meteoritic graphite requires further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4949-4960
Number of pages12
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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    Merchel, S., Ott, U., Herrmann, S., Spettel, B., Faestermann, T., Knie, K., Korschinek, G., Rugel, G., & Wallner, A. (2003). Presolar nanodiamonds: Faster, cleaner, and limits on platinum-HL. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 67(24), 4949-4960.