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7 September 2010 Zeolite adsorbers for molecular contamination control in spacecraft
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Contamination control is an important driver in the success of most space missions with more and more stringent constraints of quality and reliability : indeed, most of spacecrafts having equipments sensitive to molecular contamination like optics or detectors, the risk of damage and performance loss of such sensitive surfaces has to be considered as a real concern and treated in the early phases of the development of an instrument. Since molecular contaminants result mainly from outgassing of polymers, bakeouts under vacuum are required at the lowest possible product level in order to reduce the contamination potential of selected materials. Nevertheless, this conventional method takes time and could be relatively expensive. Then the use of low cost porous materials has appeared as an interesting alternative to trap organic contaminants, taking advantage of their controlled adsorption characteristics in channels of molecular dimensions. A recent PhD study has showed that, compared to other materials, zeolites widely used in catalysis and separation processes have great potential in such applications. Theoretical and experimental investigations have demonstrated the feasibility with three types of highly efficient zeolites. This paper reports on further development related to the preparation of uniform, homogeneous thin films of pure zeolitic materials deposited on different substrates (glass, carbon fibers...). Kinetics and sorption capacities of several representative outgassed species on these films have been investigated by thermogravimetric analyses and the results compared with the efficiency of corresponding powder materials. A discussion on the potential locations of such molecular adsorbers inside optical instruments is proposed.
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Delphine Faye, Alexandra Jakob, Michel Soulard, and Philippe Berlioz "Zeolite adsorbers for molecular contamination control in spacecraft", Proc. SPIE 7794, Optical System Contamination: Effects, Measurements, and Control 2010, 77940B (7 September 2010);

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