Determination of the microscopic mineralogy of inclusion in an amygdaloidal pillow basalt by fs-LIMS

Tulej, Marek; Lukmanov, Rustam; Grimaudo, Valentine; Riedo, Andreas; de Koning, Coenrad; Ligterink, Niels F. W.; Neubeck, Anna; Ivarsson, Magnus; McMahon, Sean; Wurz, Peter (2021). Determination of the microscopic mineralogy of inclusion in an amygdaloidal pillow basalt by fs-LIMS. Journal of analytical atomic spectrometry, 36(1), pp. 80-91. Royal Society of Chemistry 10.1039/D0JA00390E

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We present chemical depth profiling studies on mineralogical inclusions embedded in amygdale calcium
carbonate by our Laser Ablation Ionisation Mass Spectrometer designed for in situ space research. An IR
femtosecond laser ablation is employed to generate ions that are recorded by a miniature time-of-flight
mass spectrometer. The mass spectra were measured at several locations on the sample surface and
yield chemical depth profiles along the depth length of about 30 mm. The presence of oxides and
sulphides within inclusion material allows us to derive elemental abundance calibration factors (relative
sensitivity coefficients, RSCs) for major and minor elements. These are obtained from the atomic
intensity correlations performed on the depth profiling data. With the RSCs corrections the quantitative
analysis of more complex mineralogical phases within the inclusion is conducted by correlating atomic
abundance fractions in ternary diagrams, typically used in geology. The spatial resolution of the depth
profiles was sufficient to study chemically distinct micrometre-sized objects, such as mineralogical
grains and thin layers of minerals including micrometre-sized filamentous structures. The method
presented here is well-suited for the quantitative chemical analyses of highly heterogeneous materials
where the ablation condition can vary locally with the material composition making the application of
standard reference materials less accurate. The presented method is developed to distinguish between
abiotic and biological material while searching for micrometre-sized extinct or extent life forms on the
surfaces of Solar System bodies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Tulej, Marek, Lukmanov, Rustam, Riedo, Valentine, Riedo, Andreas, de Koning, Coenraad Pieter, Ligterink, Niels Frank Willem, Wurz, Peter


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




Royal Society of Chemistry




Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

01 Mar 2021 15:41

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:48

Publisher DOI:





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