August 1, 2011.
The purpose of this project is to study the attenuation rate of ultra-violet light as it transmits through rock or mineral samples; a non-invasive sampling technique being developed to identify mineral composition and distinguish the presence of organic matter by using deep ultra-violet (UV) fluorescence. It is typically assumed that the penetration of UV light into a rock surface is limited to only a few nanometers, however a recent pilot study done here at JPL has shown this depth may be as high as 100s of microns (m) depending on the rock/mineral being penetrated. This was accomplished by using a UV laser and thin section samples of basaltic rocks/minerals of varying thicknesses to determine how deep the UV laser was able to penetrate the rock/mineral surface. The current project focuses on refining this technique as well as using precursory research techniques, such as Raman Spectroscopy and X-Ray Diffraction, to better understand the mineralogy of the thin sections. By the end of this study we expect to learn how the rocks/minerals fluoresce, and the attenuation rate of the deep UV laser in these basalts.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation.