The University of Arizona

Evidence for lithium and boron from star-forming regions implanted in presolar SiC grains



We report the first measurements of lithium and boron isotope ratios and abundances measured in "gently separated" presolar SiC grains. Almost all analyses of presolar SiC grains since their first isolation in 1987 have been obtained from grains that were separated from their host meteorite by harsh acid dissolution. We recently reported a new method of "gently" separating the grains from meteorites by using freeze-thaw disaggregation, size, and density separation to retain any nonrefractory coatings or alteration to the surfaces of the grains that have been acquired in interstellar space. Nonrefractory coats or amorphized surfaces will almost certainly be removed or altered by the traditional acid separation procedure. High Li/Si and B/Si ratios of up to ~10^(-2) were found implanted in the outer 0.5 μm of the grains dropping to ~10^(-5) in the core of the grains. 7Li/6Li and 11B/10B ratios indistinguishable from solar system average values were found. Analyses obtained from SiC grains from the acid dissolution technique showed isotope ratios that were the same as those of gently separated grains, but depth profiles that were different. These results are interpreted as evidence of implantation of high velocity (1200-1800 km s^(-1)) Li and B ions into the grains by shock waves as the grains traveled through star-forming regions some time after their condensation in the outflow of an AGB star that was their progenitor. The results are in line with spectroscopic measurements of Li and B isotope ratios in star-forming regions and may be used to infer abundances and isotopic sources in these regions.


Isotopes;Silicon carbide;Cosmochemistry;Presolar grains

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