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Chemical and optical identification of micrometer sized 1.9 Ga old fossils with a miniature LIMS system combined with an optical microscope
Research and Planetary Sciences Physics Institute University of Bern Sidlerstrasse 5Bern CH-3012 Switzerland.
Centre for Microscopy Characterisation and Analysis, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.
Space Research and Planetary Sciences, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
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2018 (English)In: Astrobiology, ISSN 1531-1074, E-ISSN 1557-8070, Vol. 18, no 8, p. 1071-1080Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The recognition of biosignatures on planetary bodies requires the analysis of the putative microfossil with a set of complementary analytical techniques. This includes localized elemental and isotopic analysis of both the putative microfossil and its surrounding host matrix. If the analysis can be performed with spatial resolution at the micrometer level and part-per-million detection sensitivities, valuable information on the (bio)chemical and physical processes that influenced the sample material can be gained. Our miniaturized laser ablation ionization mass spectrometry (LIMS)-time-of-flight mass spectrometer instrument is a valid candidate for performing the required chemical analysis in situ. However, up until now it was limited by the spatial accuracy of the sampling. In this contribution, we introduce a newly developed microscope system with micrometer accuracy for ultra high vacuum application, which allows a significant increase in the measurement capabilities of our miniature LIMS system. The new enhancement allows identification and efficient and accurate sampling of features of micrometer-sized fossils in a host matrix. The performance of our system is demonstrated by the identification and chemical analysis of signatures of micrometer-sized fossil structures in the 1.9 billion-year-old Gunflint chert.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
USA, 2018. Vol. 18, no 8, p. 1071-1080
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
The changing Earth
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-2876DOI: 10.1089/ast.2017.1780OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-2876DiVA, id: diva2:1256196
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-04129Available from: 2018-10-16 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2018-10-23Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/ast.2017.1780

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