COSIMA calibration for the detection and characterization of the cometary solid organic matter

Le Roy, Léna; Bardyn, Anais; Briois, Christelle; Cottin, Hervé; Fray, Nicolas; Thirkell, Laurent; Hilchenbach, Martin (2015). COSIMA calibration for the detection and characterization of the cometary solid organic matter. Planetary and space science, 105, pp. 1-25. Elsevier 10.1016/j.pss.2014.08.015

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On the orbiter of the Rosetta spacecraft, the Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser (COSIMA) will provide new in situ insights about the chemical composition of cometary grains all along 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P/CG) journey until the end of December 2015 nominally. The aim of this paper is to present the pre-calibration which has already been performed as well as the different methods which have been developed in order to facilitate the interpretation of the COSIMA mass spectra and more especially of their organic content. The first step was to establish a mass spectra library in positive and negative ion mode of targeted molecules and to determine the specific features of each compound and chemical family analyzed. As the exact nature of the refractory cometary organic matter is nowadays unknown, this library is obviously not exhaustive. Therefore this library has also been the starting point for the research of indicators, which enable to highlight the presence of compounds containing specific atom or structure. These indicators correspond to the intensity ratio of specific peaks in the mass spectrum. They have allowed us to identify sample containing nitrogen atom, aliphatic chains or those containing polyaromatic hydrocarbons. From these indicators, a preliminary calibration line, from which the N/C ratio could be derived, has also been established. The research of specific mass difference could also be helpful to identify peaks related to quasi-molecular ions in an unknown mass spectrum. The Bayesian Positive Source Separation (BPSS) technique will also be very helpful for data analysis. This work is the starting point for the analysis of the cometary refractory organic matter. Nevertheless, calibration work will continue in order to reach the best possible interpretation of the COSIMA observations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Le Roy, Léna


500 Science > 530 Physics








Léna Le Roy

Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2016 09:30

Last Modified:

24 Jun 2016 09:30

Publisher DOI:





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