Creation of Lunar and Hermean analogue mineral powder samples for solar wind irradiation experiments and mid-infrared spectra analysis

Jäggi, Noah; Galli, André; Wurz, Peter; Biber, Herbert; Szabo, Paul Stefan; Brötzner, Johannes; Aumayr, Friedrich; Tollan, Peter Michael Edward; Mezger, Klaus (2021). Creation of Lunar and Hermean analogue mineral powder samples for solar wind irradiation experiments and mid-infrared spectra analysis. Icarus, 365, p. 114492. Elsevier 10.1016/j.icarus.2021.114492

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The surfaces of airless planetary bodies are subject to a barrage of charged particles, photons, and meteoroids. This high-energy space environment alters the surfaces and creates a tenuous atmosphere of ejected particles surrounding the celestial bodies. Experiments with well characterized analogue materials under controlled laboratory conditions are needed to interpret the observations of these atmospheres and improve composition models of such bodies. This study presents methods to create and analyze mineral powder pellets for ion irradiation experiments relevant for rocky planetary bodies including the Moon and Mercury. These include the pyroxenes diopside and enstatite, the plagioclase labradorite and the non-analogue pyroxenoid wollastonite. First ion irradiation experiments with diopside, enstatite and wollastonite pellets were performed under UHV with 4 keV He+ at fluences of several 1021 ions m−2 (~100 and ~1000 years for Mercury and the Moon, respectively). The pellet's thermal IR reflectance properties were compared before and after irradiation showing monotonously shifting IR spectral features between 7 − 14 μm towards higher wavelengths. For all irradiated pellets, Reststrahlen bands shifted by ~0.03 μm. Surface abrasion was found to remove the sputter effect, which is restricted to the top few tens of nm of the surface. Additionally, ion irradiation experiments were performed in a quartz crystal microbalance catcher setup, where the mass sputtered from pellets was monitored. This proves, that the presented sample preparation method allows the study of irradiation induced sputtering and surface alteration on the surfaces of rocky planets under laboratory conditions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Jäggi, Noah Victor; Galli, André and Wurz, Peter


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering








Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

09 Jun 2021 15:38

Last Modified:

13 Jun 2021 03:09

Publisher DOI:





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