Dr Illia Zymak
LE STUDIUM / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow
In residence at
Dr Christelle Briois
CosmOrbitrap - high resolution mass spectrometer for space application
The project plans research activities and the participation to a new space instrument development for the in situ exploration of the environment and the surface of Solar System bodies rich in organic matter. The mixed research unit - Laboratory of Physics and Chemistry of Environment and Space (LPC2E) / CNRS-University of Orleans - hosting this project is supported by the CNES.
The work will focus on contributing to the ongoing work within the “CosmOrbitrap” project. The CosmOrbitrap is being developed by a Consortium of 5 French laboratories under the leadership of LPC2E as the analyser/detector of future high mass resolution Space Mass Spectrometers (SMS). Complete instruments are being developed in the framework of prestigious collaborations with US NASA laboratories and German Institutes. The specified performances of the CosmOrbitrap (mass resolution 50 000 - 100 000, for a mass-to-charge ratio of 56) are regularly surpassed during the tests on a laboratory prototype of a complete instrument. Such performances are exceeding by one order of magnitude the performances of SMS that are selected for future missions. CosmOrbitrap will allow the in situ chemical analysis of complex high-mass organic molecules on the surface or in the near environment of various Solar System bodies and open new opportunities to conduct new research in the field of astrobiology and exobiology.
Different front-ends (sample collection, ionization and injection) specific to targeted mission environments, are developed under collaborations with international partners. A fully operational CosmOrbitrap prototype (NASA TRL 5 level) and the OLYMPIA device (Orbitrap anaLYser MultiPle IonisAtion, TRL 3) are available at LPC2E. The Consortium is therefore ready to contribute to the formulation of new in situ solar system exploration strategies.
Publications in relation with the research project
A scientific request for an efficient instrument for unambiguous in-situ analysis of the composition of the Solar system rises up, since an abundance of complex organic compounds at planets, moons and interplanetary medium has been experimentally confirmed. New experimental data will unveil chemical history of the Solar System and probable mechanisms of formation of extraterrestrial organic compounds. A space-grade Orbitrap™-based high-resolution mass spectrometer will allow to obtain required data. In scope of this research project, Lab-CosmOrbitrap and OLYMPIA mass analyzer instruments developed within the CosmOrbitrap project were optimized. New sampling systems and ionization mechanisms proposed for the future space-grade instruments have been developed and evaluated. Experimental calibration data for solid (the real Moon fragment) and gaseous samples (He, C2H4, N2 and CO) required for the currently designed space instruments (CRATER, CORALS and HANKA) were measured.