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Collisions in outer space produced an icosahedral phase in the Khatyrka meteorite never observed previously in the laboratory

Bindi, Luca and Lin, Chaney and Ma, Chi and Steinhardt, Paul J. (2016) Collisions in outer space produced an icosahedral phase in the Khatyrka meteorite never observed previously in the laboratory. Scientific Reports, 6 . Art. No. 38117. ISSN 2045-2322.

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We report the first occurrence of an icosahedral quasicrystal with composition Al_(62.0(8))Cu_(31.2(8))Fe_(6.8(4)), outside the measured equilibrium stability field at standard pressure of the previously reported Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal (Al_xCu_yFe_z, with x between 61 and 64, y between 24 and 26, z between 12 and 13%). The new icosahedral mineral formed naturally and was discovered in the Khatyrka meteorite, a recently described CV3 carbonaceous chondrite that experienced shock metamorphism, local melting (with conditions exceeding 5 GPa and 1,200 °C in some locations), and rapid cooling, all of which likely resulted from impact-induced shock in space. This is the first example of a quasicrystal composition discovered in nature prior to being synthesized in the laboratory. The new composition was found in a grain that has a separate metal assemblage containing icosahedrite (Al_(63)Cu_(24)Fe_(13)), currently the only other known naturally occurring mineral with icosahedral symmetry (though the latter composition had already been observed in the laboratory prior to its discovery in nature). The chemistry of both the icosahedral phases was characterized by electron microprobe, and the rotational symmetry was confirmed by means of electron backscatter diffraction.

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Additional Information:© 2016 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit Received: 30 September 2016; Accepted: 03 November 2016; Published online: 08 December 2016. We wish to thank the 2011 expeditionary team composed by: Christopher L. Andronicos, Vadim V. Distler, Michael P. Eddy, Alexander Kostin, Valery Kryachko, Glenn MacPherson, William Steinhardt and Marina Yudovskaya. Special thanks are also due to Lincoln Hollister and Nan Yao for their invaluable help in the different stages of this project. This work was supported in part by “Progetto di Ateneo 2015” of the University of Florence, Italy (L.B.) and the National Science Foundation-MRSEC program through New York University (DMR-0820341; P.J.S.). SEM, EBSD and EPMA analyses were carried out at the Caltech GPS Division Analytical Facility, which is supported, in part, by NSF Grants EAR-0318518 and DMR-0080065. We are also grateful to the anonymous donor who supported the 2011 expedition to Chukotka through a grant to Princeton University (P.J.S., Principal Investigator). Author Contributions: The study was conceived and guided by L.B. and P.J.S., who also led the research team. C.L. and C.M. performed the SEM studies. C.M. found i-phase II and carried out the electron backscattered diffraction and electron microprobe studies. L.B. and P.J.S. wrote the paper. All the authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Princeton UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161212-092656940
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Official Citation:Bindi, L. et al. Collisions in outer space produced an icosahedral phase in the Khatyrka meteorite never observed previously in the laboratory. Sci. Rep. 6, 38117; doi: 10.1038/srep38117 (2016).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72707
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Dec 2016 18:34
Last Modified:12 Dec 2016 18:34

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