Aerogel dust collection for in situ mass spectrometry analysis

Jones, S.M. and Anderson, M.S. and Davies, A.G. and Kirby, J.P. and Burchell, Mark J. and Cole, Mike J. (2015) Aerogel dust collection for in situ mass spectrometry analysis. Icarus, 247 . pp. 71-76. ISSN 0019-1035. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.047) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2014.09.047

Abstract

The current technique for conducting in situ mass spectroscopic analysis of dust around extraterrestrial bodies is to have the dust impact a solid plate and analyze the atoms and molecular fragments resulting from the high speed impact. Due to the fact that the kinetic energy from the impact is converted primarily to thermal energy, much of the organic compounds present in the dust may be significantly altered or destroyed. To avoid this problem, aerogel could be used to capture the dust grains, largely intact, maintaining the integrity of the organic compounds in the interior of the dust grains. To demonstrate that organic molecules, present as minor components of silica particles, would survive hypervelocity capture in aerogel and can then be analyzed with mass spectrometry, several light gas gun impact tests and analyses were conducted. Fine particles containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were captured in aerogel at 5.5 km s−1. The flow of metastable helium from a Direct Analysis Real Time (DART) source was used to desorb and ionize the organics, which were then analyzed with a mass spectrometer. The PAHs were detected and identified by the DART-MS, demonstrating that this method could be used on future flight instruments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Interplanetary dust; Experimental techniques; Impact processes
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Mark Burchell
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2015 12:31 UTC
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2015 07:54 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/51106 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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