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Multifunctional Environmental Digital Scanning Electron Microprobe (MEDSEM), Phase II

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Chromologic (CL) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) propose to continue the Phase II STTR development and demonstration of a Multifunctional Environmental Digital Scanning Electron Microprobe (MEDSEM) instrument that transmits high energy beams of electrons sequentially using a two-dimensional array of multiple, miniaturized electron probes into a planetary atmosphere and strike solid or liquid planetary surfaces to simultaneously generate a wealth of spatially-mapped compositional information. MEDSEM will ultimately simultaneously measure X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), Backscattered Electron (BSE) Spectra, Optical Spectra (OS) and Mass Spectra (MS). During the Phase II project Caltech will build on its transfer of electron-transmissive membrane technologies (Phase I) and further transfer to CL the technology for building an array of miniaturized, high-energy electron optic columns (EOCs) that are encapsulated by the microfabricated, electron-transmissive membranes for exciting XRF from samples in an atmospheric ambient. Electron field-emitter sources for these columns will be procured by Caltech from Stellarray Inc. and integrated with the high-energy electron columns. CL will manage the overall STTR Phase 2 project and assist Caltech in the fabrication and integration of EOCs, perform electron-optical and XRF-generation computer simulations to optimize the MEDSEM design, lead the testing and characterization of the Phase II MEDSEM prototype, and ultimately demonstrate the MEDSEM prototype performance. The 24-month Phase II effort will be aimed at developing and demonstrating a prototype MEDSEM prototype instrument (TRL6). The MEDSEM prototype will be capable of generating high-energy electron beams (10-30 keV), transmitting them into the atmospheric ambient and generating characteristic XRF from suitable planetary mineral sample analogs. More »

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