The elemental composition on planetary surface provides us an essential information to improve geological and geochemical understanding of planets. An active X-ray spectrometer (AXS) was developed and proposed as one of the mission payloads to perform in-situ X-ray fluorescence analysis. The AXS consists of multiple pyroelectric X-ray generators (PXGs) and a silicon drift detector (SDD). Although the PXG is light in weight and low in electric consumption, the limited X-ray intensity and reproducibility hamper obtaining the elemental composition by short time observation. This is attributed mainly to the less known mechanism of X-ray and electron emission by the pyroelectric crystal. In this study, we observed the crystal surface during X-ray emission as a function of the distance between the crystal top and a Cu target. Two types of light emission derived from the electric discharge were observed. The dependence of light emission on the distance was found to be related with the physical mechanism of pyroelectric X-ray emission. The study provides clues to obtain high intensity and reproducible X-rays emission. The experimental results and discussion are presented in this paper.
The elemental composition and its distribution on planetary surface provide important constraints on the origin and evolution of the planetary body. The nuclear spectrometer consisting of a neutron spectrometer and a gamma-ray spectrometer obtains elemental compositions by remote sensing. Especially, the neutron spectrometer is able to determine the hydrogen concentration, a piece of information that plays an important role in thermal history of the planets. In this work, numerical and experimental studies on the neutron spectrometer for micro-satellite application were conducted. It is found that background count rate of neutron produced from micro-satellite is very small, which enables to obtain successful results in short time observation. The neutron spectrometer combining a lithium-6 glass scintillator with a boron loaded plastic scintillator was used to be able to detect neutrons in different energy ranges. It was experimentally confirmed that the neutron signals from these scintillators were successfully discriminated by the difference of scintillation decay time between two detectors. The measurement of neutron count rates of two scintillators is found to determine hydrogen concentration on the planetary surfaces in the future missions.
The chemical element abundance on planetary surface is essential for planetary science. We have been developing an active X-ray spectrometer (AXS), which is an in-situ chemical element analyzer based on the X-ray florescence analysis for future planetary landing missions. The AXS consists of an X-ray detector and multiple X-ray sources. Although a pyroelectric X-ray generator is promising for the AXS as an X-ray source, the raise of emission X-ray intensity is necessary for short-time and precise determination of elemental composition. Also, in order to enhance the detection efficiency of light major elements such as Mg, Al, and Si, we have tested the low energy X-ray emission by changing the target material. In this study, the X-ray emission calculation at the target by Monte Carlo simulation and the X-ray emission experiments were carried out. More than 106 cps of the time-averaged X-ray emission rate was achieved in maximum using a LiTaO3 crystal with 4 mm thickness and Cu target with 10 um thickness. The performance of pyroelectric X-ray generator is presented in this paper.