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Proceedings Paper

A miniature MEMS and NEMS enabled time-of-flight mass spectrometer for investigations in planetary science
Author(s): P. A Roman; S. A. Getty; F. A. Herrero; R. Hu; H. H. Jones; D. Kahle; T. T. King; P. Mahaffy
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Paper Abstract

Solar system exploration and the anticipated discovery of biomarker molecules is driving the development of a new miniature time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer (MS). Space flight science investigations become more feasible through instrument miniaturization, which reduces size, mass, and power consumption. However, miniaturization of space flight mass spectrometers is increasingly difficult using current component technology. Micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and nano electro mechanical systems (NEMS) technologies offer the potential of reducing size by orders of magnitude, providing significant system requirement benefits as well. Historically, TOF mass spectrometry has been limited to large separation distances as ion mass analysis depends upon the ion flight path. Increased TOF MS system miniaturization may be realized employing newly available high speed computing electronics, coupled with MEMS and NEMS components. Recent efforts at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the development of a miniaturized TOF mass spectrometer with integral MEMS and NEMS components are presented. A systems overview, design and prototype, MEMS silicon ion lenses, a carbon nanotube electron gun, ionization methods, as well as performance data and relevant applications are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 April 2008
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 6959, Micro (MEMS) and Nanotechnologies for Space, Defense, and Security II, 69590G (30 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.777670
Show Author Affiliations
P. A Roman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
S. A. Getty, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
F. A. Herrero, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
R. Hu, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
H. H. Jones, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
D. Kahle, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
T. T. King, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
P. Mahaffy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6959:
Micro (MEMS) and Nanotechnologies for Space, Defense, and Security II
Thomas George; Zhongyang Cheng, Editor(s)

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