MSc Thesis Presentation: Extension of the accelerator-based PIXE emulation of the MSL APXS

Date and Time


MACN 318


MSc Candidate

Leanne Sargent


A broad-beam particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) system was used to successfully supplement the original PIXE emulation of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). Analysis of single mineral samples in this work confirms that PIXE is able to deduce correct concentrations for homogenous, powdered geological reference materials. In addition, three sample subsets were added to the original suite of geochemical reference standards: powdered ultramafic rocks, powdered Hawaiian unaltered and altered lava rock, and powdered, lab-generated Martian and lunar simulant soils. R-values, defined as the ratio of the GUPIX output concentration to a reference concentration, were deduced and are explained. The range of detectable elements was extended through the calibration and implementation of a second detector, the silicon lithium (Si(Li)) detector. Using this, the K X-rays of lower concentration, higher Z elements were detected and R-values deduced.

Examination Committee

  • Dr. Eric Poisson, Chair
  • Dr. John L. (Iain) Campbell, Co-Advisor
  • Dr. Joanne O’Meara, Co-Advisor
  • Dr. Ralf Gellert

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