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Proceedings Paper

New generation of miniaturized, high-mass-sensitivity quartz crystal microbalances (QCMs) for space applications
Author(s): Donald A. Wallace; Scott A. Wallace
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Paper Abstract

The use of quartz crystal microbalances (QCMs) for the measurement of the amount of mass flux that is deposited on a surface for space applications has historically been limited to the use of crystals having a resonant frequency of, at most, 15 MHz, because of the difficulty of working with the small dimensions in thickness that are associated with such crystals. This has limited the lower mass flux measurement to approximately 10-11 g/cm2-s, or 0.20 angstrom/Hz, if the condensate density is near unity. Until recently, this has been a sufficiently precise measurement of molecular flux to satisfy the needs of the experimenter. However, the growing need for the precise measurement of, for instance, the erosion/deposition rate of ion thrustors, the erosion rate on low-orbit satellites and the precise measurement of outgassing over long periods of time, has necessitated increasingly lower mass flux measurement, translating into higher mass sensitivities. With the trend toward reduced satellite size, there is a corresponding need to dimensionally miniaturize the QCMs in order to place them into even smaller spaces. A new series of QCMs and TQCMs (thermoelectrically-cooled QCMs) with crystal frequencies upward to 25 MHz, has recently been developed. These are not only physically much smaller than earlier models, but also extend the mass sensitivity range upward by a factor of 4.84 over the 15 MHz theoretical value of 5.102 multiplied by 108 Hzcm2g, lowering the limit of discernible condensate thickness measurement to approximately 0.04 angstrom/Hz. The new TQCMs also increase the effective (Delta) T, i.e. the temperature differential between the hot and cold sides of the Peltier in the TQCMs from 86 degrees Celsius to 120 degrees Celsius, causing the lower temperature of the crystals to be between minus 75 degrees Celsius and minus 100 degree Celsius when the QCM is operated at ambient temperature. Tests conducted under simulated space environments using these new miniaturized QCMs are the subject of this paper.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 November 1996
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 2864, Optical System Contamination V, and Stray Light and System Optimization, (11 November 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.258340
Show Author Affiliations
Donald A. Wallace, QCM Research (United States)
Scott A. Wallace, QCM Research (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2864:
Optical System Contamination V, and Stray Light and System Optimization
Robert P. Breault; A. Peter M. Glassford; Stephen M. Pompea; Robert P. Breault; Stephen M. Pompea, Editor(s)

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