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Steps toward accurate large-area analyses of Genesis solar wind samples: evaluation of surface cleaning methods using total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

  • Martina Schmeling (a1), Donald S. Burnett (a2), Amy J. G. Jurewicz (a3) and Igor V. Veryovkin (a4)


Total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (TXRF) was used to analyze residual surface contamination on Genesis solar wind samples and to evaluate different cleaning methods. To gauge the suitability of a cleaning method, two samples were analyzed following cleaning by lab-based TXRF. The analysis comprised an overview and a crude manual mapping of the samples by orienting them with respect to the incident X-ray beam in such a way that different regions were covered. The results show that cleaning with concentrated hydrochloric acid and a combination of hydrochloric acid and hydrofluoric acid decreased persistent inorganic contaminants substantially on one sample. The application of CO2 snow for surface cleaning tested on the other sample appears to be effective in removing one persistent Genesis contaminant, namely germanium. Unfortunately, the TXRF analysis results of the second sample were impacted by relatively high background contamination. This was mostly due to the relatively small sample size and that the solar wind collector was already mounted with silver glue for resonance ion mass spectrometry (RIMS) on an aluminium stub. Further studies are planned to eliminate this problem. In an effort to identify the location of very persistent contaminants, selected samples were also subjected to environmental scanning electron microscopy. The results showed excellent agreement with TXRF analysis.


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