Production and recoil loss of cosmogenic nuclides in presolar grains


Presolar grains are small particles that condensed in the vicinity of dying stars. Some of these grains survived the voyage through the interstellar medium (ISM) and were incorporated into meteorite parent bodies at the formation of the Solar System. An important question is when these stellar processes happened, i.e., how long presolar grains were drifting through the ISM. While conventional radiometric dating of such small grains is very difficult, presolar grains are irradiated with galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) in the ISM, which induce the production of cosmogenic nuclides. This opens the possibility to determine cosmic-ray exposure (CRE) ages, i.e., how long presolar grains were irradiated in the ISM. Here, we present a new model for the production and loss of cosmogenic 3He, 6,7Li, and 21,22Ne in presolar SiC grains. The cosmogenic production rates are calculated using a state-of-the-art nuclear cross-section database and a GCR spectrum in the ISM consistent with recent Voyager data. Our findings are that previously measured 3He and 21Ne CRE ages agree within the (sometimes large) 2σ uncertainties and that the CRE ages for most presolar grains are smaller than the predicted survival times. The obtained results are relatively robust since interferences from implanted low-energy GCRs into the presolar SiC grains and/or from cosmogenic production within the meteoroid can be neglected.

The Astrophysical Journal