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Optical luminescence spectroscopy as a probe of the surface mineralogy of MarsOptical luminescence (OpL) spectroscopy is an attractive use of a visible-near-IR spectrometer on a Mars lander because mineral products of atmosphere-surface interactions on Mars will probably have characteristic OpL spectra. Optical luminescence spectra would be taken at night, when a spectrometer might otherwise sit idle. Also needed would be a source of exciting radiation, which could be shared with other experiments. Optical luminescence is emission of nonthermal optical photons (near-UV through near-IR) as a response to energy input. On absorption of energy, an atom (or ion) will enter an excited state. The favored decay of many such excited states involving valence-band electrons is emission of an optical photon. Optical luminescence spectra can be useful in determining mineralogy and mineral composition. Optical luminescence in crystals can arise from essential elements (or ions), trace-element substituents (activators), or defects. Common activators in salts of alkali and alkaline earth elements include Mn(2+)(VI), other transition metals, the rare earths, and the actinides. Trace substituents of other species can enhance or quench OpL (e.g., Pb(2+) vs. Fe(3+)). Optical luminescence can also arise from defects in crystal structures, including those caused by radiation and shock.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Treiman, A. H.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., MSATT Workshop on Innovative Instrumentation for the In Situ Study of Atmosphere-Surface Interactions on Mars
Subject Category
Instrumentation And Photography
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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