Space weathering of silicates simulated by successive laser irradiation: In situ reflectance measurements of Fo90, Fo99+, and SiO2

M. J. Loeffler, C. A. Dukes, R. Christoffersen, R. A. Baragiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pulsed-laser irradiation causes the visible-near-infrared spectral slope of olivine (Fo90 and Fo99+) and SiO2 to increase (redden), while the olivine samples darken and the SiO2 samples brighten slightly. XPS analysis shows that irradiation of Fo90 produces metallic Fe. Analytical SEM and TEM measurements confirm that reddening in the Fo90 olivine samples correlates with the production of "nanophase" metallic Fe (npFe0) grains, 20-50 nm in size. The reddening observed in the SiO2 sample is consistent with the formation of SiO or other SiOx species that absorb in the visible. The weak spectral brightening induced by laser irradiation of SiO2 is consistent with a change in surface topography of the sample. The darkening observed in the olivine samples is likely caused by the formation of larger npFe0 particles, such as the 100-400 nm diameter npFe0 identified during our TEM analysis of Fo90 samples. The Fo90 reflectance spectra are qualitatively similar to those in previous experiments suggesting that in all cases formation of npFe0 is causing the spectral alteration. Finally, we find that the accumulation of successive laser pulses cause continued sample darkening in the Vis-NIR, which suggests that repeated surface impacts are an efficient way to darken airless body surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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