Nuclear-physical analysis of the contamination on the surface of a COMPLAST panel after 12-year exposure at the ISS
Using methods of X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRFA), the Rutherford backscattering of ions (RBS) and spectral X-ray microanalysis (SXRM) in combination with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), we study the elemental composition and structure of contaminants on the surface of a metallic panel with samples of different materials exposed to outer space for 12 years. It turns out that the main elements of the contaminants are C, O, Si, S, Ca, Fe, and Zn. Since these elements are the constituents of materials located on the panel, they are present as a result of destruction of the materials under the action of outer-space factors. X-ray phase analysis (XRPA) of the contaminants shows that carbon is present in the form of an amorphous graphite phase with a small addition of crystalline graphite, while the other components are in an amorphous state. Crystalline silicium dioxide and other silicium compounds are not found.