Thursday, March 14, 2013

1303.3020 (Stephen D. Wolters et al.)

WatSen: Design and testing of a prototype mid-IR spectrometer and microscope package for Mars exploration    [PDF]

Stephen D. Wolters, Jon K. Hagene, Arnt T. Sund, Axel Bohman, William Guthery, Bjornar T. Sund, Axel Hagermann, Tim Tomkinson, Jens Romstedt, Geraint H. Morgan, Monica M. Grady
We have designed and built a compact breadboard prototype instrument called WatSen: a combined ATR mid-IR spectrometer, fixed-focus microscope, and humidity sensor. The instrument package is enclosed in a rugged cylindrical casing only 26mm in diameter. The functionality, reliability and performance of the instrument was tested in an environment chamber set up to resemble martian surface conditions. The effective wavelength range of the spectrometer is 6.2 - 10.3 micron with a resolution delta-wavelength/wavelength = 0.015. This allows detection of silicates and carbonates, including an indication of the presence of water (ice). Spectra of clusters of grains < 1mm across were acquired that are comparable with spectra of the same material obtained using a commercial system. The microscope focuses through the diamond ATR crystal. Colour images of the grains being spectroscopically analysed are obtainable with a resolution of ~ 20 micron.
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