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New Instruments Added to PSI's Spectroscopy Lab

Neil with new spec lab equipment

Neil Pearson, PSI’s Spectroscopy Laboratory Technician, with the anaerobic glove box chamber.


PSI has received some equipment that will improve the spectroscopic study of materials. An anaerobic glove box chamber, Instec vacuum stage, and rock micronizer are now installed in PSI’s Spectroscopy Lab in Tucson. 

The devices came from PSI Research Scientist Elizabeth Sklute’s lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

The devices will help remove the effects from oxygen and water in Earth’s atmosphere when samples are examined in the spectroscopy lab, said Neil Pearson, PSI’s Spectroscopy Laboratory Technician. 

“By removing oxygen and water vapor from samples and the environments they’re prepared in, it helps us better replicate conditions on asteroids and other planetary surfaces. Laboratory science is about controlling variables to understand what remote observations by telescopes and space probes are actually telling us, and this equipment will help us do that,” Pearson said. 

What does all this equipment actually do? The anaerobic glovebox will be purged with nitrogen gas which doesn’t oxidize or absorb to samples the way oxygen and water do. It is also equipped with a freezer and cryo-chamber so that samples can be prepared and kept in temperatures like that in outer space. The Instec Stage will allow samples to be transported outside of the anaerobic chamber while still in a nitrogen atmosphere, or even under vacuum. The stage is equipped with windows transparent in the Infrared so that our spectrometers can measure pristine samples. The rock micronizer will allow us to consistently crush rock and minerals samples to a very fine powder similar to that found on the surface of the Moon or asteroids.

new glove box chamber

The aerobic glove box chamber.

May 14, 2023
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