Spatially Resolved Organic Analysis of the Allende Meteorite

Science  24 Nov 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4933, pp. 1026-1029
DOI: 10.1126/science.246.4933.1026


The distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs) in the Allende meteorite has been probed with two-step laser desorption/laser multiphoton ionization mass spectrometry. This method allows direct in situ analysis with a spatial resolution of 1 square millimeter or better of selected organic molecules. Spectra from freshly fractured interior surfaces of the meteorite show that PAH concentrations are locally high compared to the average concentrations found by wet chemical analysis of pulverized samples. The data suggest that the PAHs are primarily associated with the fine-grained matrix, where the organic polymer occurs. In addition, highly substituted PAH skeletons were observed. Interiors of individual chondrules were devoid of PAHs at our detection limit(about 0.05 parts per million).