Brownlee, D. E.
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CitationMatrajt, G., & Brownlee, D. E. (2006). Acrylic embedding of Stardust particles encased in aerogel. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 41(11), 1715-1720.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractUltramicrotomy of samples embedded in epoxy resin is a standard method for preparing ultra-thin sections for electron microscopy. In this report we describe a new embedding technique that uses acrylic resin instead of epoxy. This method offers several important advantages for sectioning small extraterrestrial samples. One is that the acrylic resin is soluble and can be removed after ultramicrotomy to leave a sample that is free of the mounting media. This is important for studying carbon and insoluble organic components. A second major advantage of acrylic is that, when combined with pre-embedding compression, it provides a very effective method of mounting samples collected in silica aerogel. Acrylic embedding is currently being used to mount comet particles collected by NASA's Stardust mission. Combined with a flattening process, the acrylic embedding and sectioning preserves all pieces of collected samples in their collection matrix. In addition to Stardust, acrylic may be applied to other samples collected in aerogel such as those from the Russian Mir space station (Hörz et al. 2000) and future missions such as Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars (SCIM) (Leshin 2003), a proposed mission to collect atmospheric dust particles from Mars.