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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

A LIBS/Raman System for Planetary Surface Measurement

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

A LIBS/Raman System for Planetary Surface Measurement
For lightweight and power-efficient instruments that enable elemental and/or mineralogy analysis, Q-Peak proposes to develop a compact, robust, and efficient instrument capable of performing imaging spectroscopy, Laser-Raman Spectroscopy (LRS) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). The main advantage in using these techniques for planetary science is the ability to rapidly collect a wealth of chemical information, by simply directing a laser beam on remote targets of interest. No sample preparation is necessary. As an important component of the Raman/LIBS instrument in Phase I, we developed, built and tested a 1.5 cubic-inch, Q-switched, solid state laser fitted with commercial, off-the-shelf optical components. The laser produced ~1 mJ, < 2 ns-duration pulses at 523-nm wavelength and was used to analyze a norite sample by means of Raman/LIBS techniques. In Phase II we propose to further miniaturize and ruggedize the Phase I laser to a size of < 1 cubic inch. We will scale up the energy-per-pulse up to 2 mJ and test the laser in a wide range of environments such as vibration, vacuum and temperature. We will design and test the optics in a CHAMP instrument modified to accommodate the compact laser. The TRL of the laser will be 6 at the conclusion of the effort. More »

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