Browsing Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Volume 37, Number 2 (2002) by Authors
Active capture and anomalous adsorption: New mechanisms for the incorporation of heavy noble gasesHohenberg, C. M.; Thonnard, N.; Meshik, A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2002-01-01)Active capture is a new process for the incorporation of large quantities of heavy noble gases into growing surfaces. Adsorption in the conventional sense involves surface bonding by polarization (Van der Waals forces). What is referred to as "anomalous adsorption" of heavy noble gases involves chemical bonds and can occur when other (more chemically active) species are not available to preempt sites with unfilled bonds. Anomalous adsorption has been observed under conditions of fracture, vacuum deposition and ionizing radiation. Active capture depends upon anomalous adsorption to retain noble gases on a surface long enough to be captured in a growing surface film as it is deposited. The fundamental principle may be the impingement onto the growing film with sufficient energy to liberate surface electrons (work function energy of a few electronvolts) so that they are retained by anomalous adsorption long enough to be entrapped in the growing surface. Trapping efficiencies of ~1% have been observed for Kr and Xe in laboratory experiments, implying a fundamentally new mechanism for the incorporation of heavy noble gases onto surfaces. It may play a role in explaining the large concentrations of planetary noble gases contained in phase-Q.