Abstract

We present recent developments in time-resolved Raman spectroscopy instrumentation and measurement techniques for in situ planetary surface exploration, leading to improved performance and identification of minerals and organics. The time-resolved Raman spectrometer uses a 532 nm pulsed microchip laser source synchronized with a single photon avalanche diode array to achieve sub-nanosecond time resolution. This instrument can detect Raman spectral signatures from a wide variety of minerals and organics relevant to planetary science while eliminating pervasive background interference caused by fluorescence. We present an overview of the instrument design and operation and demonstrate high signal-to-noise ratio Raman spectra for several relevant samples of sulfates, clays, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Finally, we present an instrument design suitable for operation on a rover or lander and discuss future directions that promise great advancement in capability.

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