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Published April 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

Time-of-flight mass spectrometry of mineral volatilization: Toward direct composition analysis of shocked mineral vapor


We have developed an orthogonal-acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer to study the volatiles produced when a mineral's shock-compressed state is isentropically released, as occurs when a shock wave, driven into the mineral by an impact, reflects upon reaching a free surface. The instrument is designed to use a gun or explosive-launched projectile as the source of the shock wave, impact onto a flange separating a poor vacuum and the high vacuum (10^(−7) Torr) interior of the mass spectrometer, and transmission of the shock wave through the flange to a mineral sample mounted on the high-vacuum side of the flange. The device extracts and analyzes the neutrals and ions produced from the shocked mineral prior to the possible occurrence of collateral instrument damage from the shock-inducing impact. The instrument has been tested using laser ablation of various mineral surfaces, and the resulting spectra are presented. Mass spectra are compared with theoretical distributions of molecular species, and with expected distributions from laser desorption.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Institute of Physics. Received 2 November 2011; accepted 8 April 2012; published online 25 April 2012. Contribution No. 8891 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023