s-Process Zirconium in Presolar Silicon Carbide Grains

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Science  29 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5330, pp. 1281-1284
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5330.1281

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The isotopic composition of zirconium in silicon carbide grains from the Murchison meteorite was measured by resonant ionization mass spectrometry of laser-ablated neutral atoms. These grains are condensates from the atmospheres of red giant stars that existed before the formation of our sun and solar system, and they contain records of nucleosynthesis in these stars. The r-process–dominated isotope zirconium-96 was depleted by more than a factor of 2 compared with the s-process–dominated isotopes zirconium-90, zirconium-91, zirconium-92, and zirconium-94, in agreement with expectations for neutron capture nucleosynthesis in asymptotic giant branch stars.

  • * Present address: McDonnell Center for Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.

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