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- Instrument Development: The membrane properties were investigated in detail due to its critical role. A series of experiments determined that our designed membranes have high electron transmission, yet are capable of isolating high vacuum, are able to withstand differential pressure in excess of one atmosphere, survive vibrational shocks of a magnitude to be expected during a planetary mission. Our initial work has been with a 10 keV source and a 200 nm thick Silicon Nitride (SiN) encapsulation membrane micro-fabricated within a Si support frame (1.5 mm x 1.5 mm window openings. Fig 2 compares the spectra taken with the 10 keV source with spectra taken within SEM. Introduction: This paper describes the progress in the development of the AEXS instrument in our laboratory at JPL. The AEXS is a novel miniature instrument[1-3] based on the excitation of characteristic X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and luminescence spectra using a focused electron beam, for non-destructive evaluation of surfaces of samples in planetary ambient atmosphere. In situ operation is obtained through the use of a thin electron transmissive membrane to isolate the vacuum within the AEXS electron source from the outside ambient atmosphere. The impinging electrons excite XRF spectra from the irradiated spots on samples in external atmosphere with high-to-medium (sub-mm to cm-scale) spatial resolution at Mars atmospheric pressure. The XRF spectra are analyzed using an energy-dispersive detector to determine surface elemental composition, or in the case of electron-induced luminescence to identify unusual formations on surface that cathodo-luminescence (CL). The AEXS system (Fig 1) consists of a high-energy (>10keV) electron gun encapsulated by the isolation membrane, an EDX detection and analyzer system to determine the elemental abundance, an optional CL detection system, and a high voltage power supply. The approach to demonstrating a proof of concept of the AEXS has been through 1) demonstrating the viability of micro-fabricated membranes, 2) assembling AEXS setups with increasingly integrated functional components, and 3) simulating the AEXS observational capabilities. This paper will focus on description of the development of the instrument.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20050180798.
Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 21; LPI-Contrib-1234-Pt-21.
- Copyright, Distribution under U.S. Government purpose rights.
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