MSc Defense: Final Oral Examination for the Degree Master of Science of Dustin Tesselaar

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Time: 9:30 AM
  • Location: SSC 1511

Thesis Title:

"An Analytical Approach for Compton-Rayleigh Scatter Peak Analysis for the Mars Science Laboratory Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer"


As part of a suite of complimentary science instruments onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) determines the chemical abundances of Martian rocks and soils for elements from Na to Y via particle induced X-ray emission and X-ray fluorescence. Due to attenuation effects, elements with Z <11 cannot be directly detected. These invisible components can be quantified indirectly by the Compton-Rayleigh scatter-peaks in APXS spectra. This thesis focuses on the development of an analytical simulation program (CRAM) used to predict the Compton-Rayleigh ratio (C/R) for APXS spectra in a more timely manner than the existing Monte Carlo method (MarsGeom). The simulated C/R, when related to the experimental C/R, is used to quantify any excess or deficit of invisible components in APXS targets.  The results of CRAM are compared to MarsGeom and both datasets agree, giving a limit of invisible component detection of approximately 5wt%.

Examination Committee:

Dr. Robert Wickham, Chair

Dr. Ralf Gellert, Advisor

Dr. Iain Campbell

Dr. Joanne O'Meara