Stardust from Supernovae and Its Isotopes

  • Peter HoppeEmail author
Living reference work entry


Primitive solar system materials, namely, meteorites, interplanetary dust particles, and cometary matter contain small quantities of nanometer- to micrometer-sized refractory dust grains that exhibit large isotopic abundance anomalies. These grains are older than our solar system and have been named “presolar grains.” They formed in the winds of red giant and asymptotic giant stars and in the ejecta of stellar explosions, i.e., represent a sample of stardust that can be analyzed in terrestrial laboratories for isotopic compositions and other properties. The inventory of presolar grains is dominated by grains from red giant and asymptotic giant branch stars. Presolar grains from supernovae form a minor but important subpopulation. Supernova (SN) minerals identified to date include silicon carbide, graphite, silicon nitride, oxides, and silicates. Isotopic studies of major, minor, and trace elements in these dust grains have provided detailed insights into nucleosynthetic and mixing processes in supernovae and how dust forms in these violent environments.


Solar System Asymptotic Giant Branch Silicon Isotope Molybdenum Isotope Asymptotic Giant Branch Star 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Particle Chemistry DepartmentMax Planck Institute for Chemistry55128 MainzGermany

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