Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Mars Exploration News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















MARSDAILY
New mini tool has massive implications
by Staff Writers
Salt Lake City UT (SPX) Aug 31, 2017


BYU chemistry Ph.D. Ailin Li working with the BYU-created mini mass spectrometer. Image courtesy Jaren Wilkey and BYU.

Brigham Young University researchers have created a miniaturized, portable version of a tool now capable of analyzing Mars' atmosphere - and that's just one of its myriad possible uses.

For decades mass spectrometers have offered a relatively fast and highly sensitive way to analyze and detect chemical compounds. But their bulky size has been a hindrance, limiting their in-field potential.

But after spending 12 years exploring the problem, BYU chemistry professor Daniel Austin, joined by electrical engineering professor Aaron Hawkins and other colleagues, has developed a much smaller spectrometer that still has the capabilities of its larger counterparts.

"The goal was to take what would otherwise be a huge, benchtop instrument to something that's small enough to carry with you," said Austin, whose team's findings were recently published in the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

Though smaller spectrometers have been developed in the past, they've generally been less sensitive and more likely to break down. But a small spectrometer whose capacity and strength isn't minimized by its size, Austin said, opens up a world of potential applications, including the following:

+ A miniaturized mass spectrometer could detect and find chemical weapons, minimizing danger to soldiers in a given region.

+ In the homeland security realm, miniaturized mass spectrometers could help detect explosives in airports or elsewhere.

+ For forensic investigators, portable spectrometers could help with a range of on-site needs, including determining whether a white powder is an illegal drug or something benign.

"Because mass spectrometers are typically large and expensive and require technicians to operate, not many people can get access to them," said Yuan Tian, a study co-author and recent BYU chemistry Ph.D. grad. "But miniaturized mass spectrometers aim at overcoming these traditional problems by reducing their physical size, weight and cost."

That, in turn, "provides a faster and simpler way for compound analysis," added fellow co-author and chemistry Ph.D. grad Ailin Li.

Ion trap mass spectrometers typically work by metal electrodes creating an electric field. That electric field has a radio frequency signal applied to it, which traps ions. Scientists gather samples, ionize them, trap the ions and then eject and detect those ions based on their masses, which then tells them the chemical composition of the sample.

Austin and his colleagues use a process called microlithography on ceramic and glass plates to miniaturize the ion traps. The space between the plates is less than a millimeter and is "where the action happens," Austin said, adding that the resulting device is a hundred times lighter and smaller than a conventional ion trap.

This specific project was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, and related research has also been funded by NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. The team's spectrometer is now being eyed for commercial development.

"Portable mass spectrometry will enable lots of applications that you just can't do right now," Austin said. "There's a lot of new science that can be done with an instrument that can be taken anywhere. Instead of sending samples to a distant lab and waiting for results, a portable instrument can give immediate results, allowing quick decisions."

Research paper

MARSDAILY
Mars weather: 'Cloudy, chance of nighttime snowstorm'
Paris (AFP) Aug 21, 2017
Mars is buffeted by turbulent snowstorms that occur only at night, according to a study released Monday that revises our understanding of Red Planet weather. Up to now, it was thought that snow falling from low-lying Martian clouds settled slowly and sparsely to the ground in a environment bereft of violent winds. The new findings, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggest that ... read more

Related Links
Brigham Young University
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

MARSDAILY
Call For Ideas For Research On The Deep Space Gateway

Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry

Roscosmos Approves Luna-25 Space Station Model in Moon Exploration Project

Moon's magnetic field lasted far longer than once believed

MARSDAILY
Russia, China May Sign 5-Year Agreement on Joint Space Exploration

China, Russia to Have Smooth Space Cooperation, Says Expert

Kuaizhou-11 to send six satellites into space

ESA and Chinese astronauts train together

MARSDAILY
House-Sized Near-Earth Objects Rarer Than We Thought

Largest asteroid in a century to whiz by Sept 1

Close encounters of the stellar kind

Backyard Observers Ready to View Asteroid's Close Flyby

MARSDAILY
New Horizons Video Soars over Pluto's Majestic Mountains and Icy Plains

Juno spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

New evidence in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis

Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy planets

MARSDAILY
Saturn Plunge Nears for Cassini Spacecraft

NASA Announces Cassini End-of-Mission Activities

Cassini to begin final five orbits around Saturn

Cassini Prepares to Say Goodbye to a True Titan

MARSDAILY
Teledyne e2v sensors will play a vital role in ESA's FLEX satellite mission to study plant health and stress from space

Russian scientists invent device allowing them to sense kilometers into Earth

Nickel key to Earth's magnetic field, research shows

Man-made fossil methane emission levels larger than previously believed

MARSDAILY
'Gifted' high-tech takes spotlight at Berlin's IFA fair

NASA Offers Space Station as Catalyst for Discovery in Washington

Forty years on, Voyager still hurtles through space

ISS Orbit Increases Almost 2,000 Feet After Adjustment Maneuver - Control Center

MARSDAILY
Ultraviolet Light May Be Ultra Important in Search for Life

Hubble delivers first hints of possible water content of TRAPPIST-1 planets

15 Fast Radio Bursts Detected from Distant Universe

A New Search for Extrasolar Planets from the Arecibo Observatory




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement