Rapid and direct screening of H:C ratio in Archean kerogen via microRaman Spectroscopy

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Nicola Ferralis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Materials Science and Engineering, Cambridge, MA, United States, Emily D Matys, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, EAPS, Cambridge, MA, United States, Abigail Allwood, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, Andrew H Knoll, Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Cambridhe, MA, United States and Roger E Summons, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA, United States
Rapid evaluation of the preservation of biosignatures in ancient kerogens is essential for the evaluation of the usability of Earth analogues as proxies of Martian geological materials. No single, non-destructive and non-invasive technique currently exists to rapidly determine such state of preservation of the organic matter in relation to its geological and mineral environment. Due to its non-invasive nature, microRaman spectroscopy is emerging as a candidate technique for the qualitative determination maturity of organic matter, by correlating Raman spectral features and aromatic carbon cluster size. Here we will present a novel quantitative method in which before-neglected Raman spectral features are correlated directly and with excellent accuracy with the H:C ratio. In addition to providing a chemical justification of the found direct correlation, we will show its applicability and predictive capabilities in evaluating H:C in Archean kerogens. This novel method opens new opportunities for the use of Raman spectroscopy and mapping. This includes the non-invasively determination of kerogen preservation and microscale chemical diversity within a particular Earth analogue, to be potentially extended to evaluate Raman spectra acquired directly on Mars.