Presolar grains are stardust that condensed in stellar outflows or stellar ejecta, and was incorporated in meteorites. They remain mostly intact throughout the journey from stars to the earth, keeping information of their birthplaces. Studies of presolar grains, which started in 1987, have produced a wealth of information about nucleosynthesis in stars, mixing in stellar ejecta, and temporal variations of isotopic and elemental abundances in the Galaxy. Recent instrumental advancements in secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) brought about the identification of presolar silicate grains. Isotopic and mineralogical investigations of sub-μm grains have been performed using a combination of SIMS, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and focused ion beam (FIB) techniques. Two instruments have been developed to study even smaller grains (∼50 nm) and measure isotopes and elements of lower abundances than those in previous studies.
Keywords: isotopic anomalies; meteorites; nucleosynthesis; presolar grains; secondary ion mass spectrometry.
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