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Technology Factsheet

In Situ Mass Spectrometer

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Sensor
Reference # : Model No :

An essential component of ecosystems research is characterizing and quantifying the chemical mileu within and around habitats. To date, there is a paucity of chemical sensors that are capable of measuring a wide range of compounds, and be left in situ for longer term investigations. Mass spectrometers are among the instruments that can detect the broadest range of compounds with a single detector, and are capable of high sensitivity and throughput.

Recently, we developed an in situ mass spectrometer (or ISMS) based around a commercially available 24 VDC mass spectrometer that can detect and quantify volatiles up to 200 daltons. It is capable of deployments down to 4500 meters, and has been laboratory-tested to 6000 meters. During a recent expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, the ISMS was deployed 7 times, including three dives to a 2900-meter coral and seep sites in the Gulf of Mexico.

Site: *
Size:Large (20-100kg/40lb-200lb, 60cm-120cm/24in-48in)
TRL:Development (4-6)
TRL2: *
Tether: *
Waterproof: *
Payload: *
Reach: *
Manipulator: *




ISMS Specifications.

Mass spectrometer: Quadropole, 200 amu range, 0.5 AMU resolution, faraday cup and secondary electron multiplier, 6x10-14 torr detection limit.
Pumping system: Hybrid turbomolecular pump, dual piston diaphragm pump, oil-free.
Safety sytem: High-speed solenoid shutoff valves seal off the instrument in 50 msec if water is detected in the line.
Power requirements: 24VDC@8A on startup; 24VDC@3A nominal.
Data storage/transmission: Storage on board a 60GB hard drive; transmission through cable via RS-232.
Data rate: 28.8 to 56K baud.
Dimensions/weight: 25 cm OD x 90 cm L; 25 Kg dry, 13 Kg in water.
Operating conditions: Inlet rated to 4500 meters, tested to 6000 meters; titanium housing rated to 4500 meters; maximum instrument operating temperature is 70°C; maximum fluid sampling temperature is 350°C.

Operational Experience:



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