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30 April 2008 Simulation of a miniature, low-power time-of-flight mass spectrometer for in situ analysis of planetary atmospheres
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We are implementing nano- and micro-technologies to develop a miniaturized electron impact ionization mass spectrometer for planetary science. Microfabrication technology is used to fabricate the ion and electron optics, and a carbon nanotube (CNT) cathode is used to generate the ionizing electron beam. Future NASA planetary science missions demand miniaturized, low power mass spectrometers that exhibit high resolution and sensitivity to search for evidence of past and present habitability on the surface and in the atmosphere of priority targets such as Mars, Titan, Enceladus, Venus, Europa, and short-period comets. Toward this objective, we are developing a miniature, high resolution reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer (Mini TOF-MS) that features a low-power CNT field emission electron impact ionization source and microfabricated ion optics and reflectron mass analyzer in a parallel-plate geometry that is scalable. Charged particle electrodynamic modeling (SIMION 8.0.4) is employed to guide the iterative design of electron and ion optic components and to characterize the overall performance of the Mini TOF-MS device via simulation. Miniature (< 1000 cm3) TOF-MS designs (ion source, mass analyzer, detector only) demonstrate simulated mass resolutions > 600 at sensitivity levels on the order of 10-3 cps/molecule N2/cc while consuming 1.3 W of power and are comparable to current spaceflight mass spectrometers. Higher performance designs have also been simulated and indicate mass resolutions ~1000, though at the expense of sensitivity and instrument volume.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Todd T. King, Stephanie A. Getty, Patrick A. Roman, Federico A. Herrero, Hollis H. Jones, Duncan M. Kahle, Bernard Lynch, George Suárez, William B. Brinckerhoff, and Paul R. Mahaffy "Simulation of a miniature, low-power time-of-flight mass spectrometer for in situ analysis of planetary atmospheres", Proc. SPIE 6959, Micro (MEMS) and Nanotechnologies for Space, Defense, and Security II, 69590E (30 April 2008);


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