Fast GC for Space Applications Based on PIES Technology
Development of a novel analytical instrument which combines the advantages of fast GC and a detector capable of identifying species is proposed. Experiments in the limited-space environment require from a GC system maximum productivity and universality with minimal resource consumption. A combination of a short-column fast-chromatographic separation technique with a low-power-consumption miniature detector capable of identifying unknown species would be an ideal instrument for flight analysis. The proposed instrument will employ the technology of Penning Ionization Electron Spectroscopy in plasma (PIES) which provides an excellent opportunity for the development of a fast-GC/PIES combination that satisfies these requirements. A new micro-PIES detector is proposed that uses continuous flowing afterglow discharge cell design enabling the measurement of PIES spectra in continuous flow at atmospheric pressure of the carrier gas. PIES spectra for permanent gases will be recorded in Phase I by a micro-PIES detector prototype. In Phase II of the project, a commercially viable micro-PIES detector and an analytical device combining fast GC and the micro-PIES detector, will be developed.
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