Design and implementation of scientific instrumentation based on vacuum technology. (Injection of liquid solutions in ultra high vacuum and simulation chamber of planetary atmospheres MARTE) 30-06-2014 THESIS OF CAB

Jesús Manuel Sobrado Vallecillo defended his thesis at the Institute of Material Sciences of Madrid (CSIC) entitled "Design and implementation of scientific instrumentation based on vacuum technology. (Injection of liquid solutions in ultra high vacuum. and camera simulation of planetary atmospheres MARTE) "directed by José Ángel Martín Gago obtaining the qualification of Outstanding" Cum Laude ".

Nowadays it is practically impossible to get into any area of ​​knowledge without technology or technical developments having an important weight on new lines of scientific research. Vacuum is an essential part of most analytical techniques that currently exist in materials science. This knowledge is fundamental to understand, for example, how two bodies or substances interact when they come into contact. The importance of this phenomenon is vital to understand processes such as catalysis, the organization and molecular self-organization, as well as other processes that are revealed in what is known as nanoscience and nanotechnology. This thesis presents two new technological developments within the same area that is the science of vacuum engineering and engineering.

In this context, a new injection method has been developed that is particularly interesting for studying molecules in solutions. liquid. Very important for solutions of biological interest, since this type of molecules or macromolecules lose their structure in the event that they dry out. For this reason, they can not be evaporated directly under vacuum. This system tries to solve in a simple way, the impossibility of introducing liquid samples in an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) environment, in which the vapor pressure of the solvent makes it impossible for the pressure to drop.

This process has been carried out in two vacuum chambers, designed and built entirely in the Astrobiology Center. In the first, known as SMS, the bulk of the experiments is carried out in its advanced phase, since it has the analytical techniques for it (XPS, STM, TPD). The second vacuum chamber, IE3C, was conceived as an experimental test chamber for new technological developments in this area of ​​knowledge. In this chamber protocols and procedures have been developed, serving as tests before their definitive integration into SMS. In IE3C is where all the technological work has been done, such as hardware integration in terms of the atomic injection valve, the mass spectrometer, the quartz balance, the meter and the vacuum pumps, as well as the necessary software for the data capture.

The second part of the thesis is also closely related to emptiness, but from another scale of magnitude. In this case a new vacuum chamber known as MARTE has been developed, destined to the simulation of planetary environmental conditions, mainly as those of the planet Mars and in a way that it serves as a test bench for new instrumental developments. The context of this design is to be able to evaluate new electromechanical devices and biological detection equipment that have been or will be sent to space in space missions.

In the MARTE camera, some of the tests have been carried out. the devices of the environmental station REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) of the MSL mission (Mars Science Laboratory) that are aboard the Curiosity vehicle of NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration). Specifically, tests have been carried out on the following instruments: Pressure measurement device. Device for measuring the temperature of the air and the dust deposition and reading of the photodiodes of the UV device.

In the MARTE camera, a design effort was made, in order to convert it into a functional chamber of tests beyond the red planet, so that its modular design, has allowed validating the planetary protection protocol of the ESA (European Space Agency), as well as serving as functional tests to life detection instruments that are being developed to be sent to space in the next decade.

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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