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Journal Articles Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy Year : 2021

Improving ChemCam LIBS long-distance elemental compositions using empirical abundance trends

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Abstract

The ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover provides chemical compositions of Martian rocks and soils using remote laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). The elemental calibration is stable as a function of distance for Ti, Fe, Mg, and Ca. The calibration shows small, systematically increasing abundance trends as a function of distance for Al, Na, K, and to some extent, Si. The distance effect is known to be due to a dependence with distance on the relative strengths of atomic transition lines. Emission lines representing transitions from relatively low energy levels remain intense at longer distances while emission lines representing transitions from higher energy levels decrease in intensity more rapidly as a function of distance. The multivariate algorithms used to determine elemental compositions rely on a large number of emission lines in many cases, so rather than trying to correct all emission lines, a study was made of the predicted compositions as a function of distance, in order to determine an empirical correction. Abundance trends can be well approximated by a linear trend with distance within the ranges of abundances and distances observed up to ~6 m. Data from 11 distinct geological members and data groups of the Murray formation in Gale crater, Mars, were used to form the model, selecting the members and data groups yielding the best statistics. The model was tested using data from several targets observed from two different distances, and using data from the Kimberley formation, the composition of which is significantly different from the Murray formation, showing that the model works on other compositions beyond those used to build the model. For long-distance observations up to ~6 m, corrections can be made back to an equivalent composition at the median distance of ChemCam observations (2.6 m). The model has been validated up to 6.2 m, although ChemCam is able to observe bedrock targets to >7 m, and iron meteorites to distances of >9 m.

Dates and versions

insu-03672412 , version 1 (19-05-2022)

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Roger C. Wiens, Alyre J. Blazon-Brown, Noureddine Melikechi, Jens Frydenvang, Erwin Dehouck, et al.. Improving ChemCam LIBS long-distance elemental compositions using empirical abundance trends. Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy, 2021, 182, ⟨10.1016/j.sab.2021.106247⟩. ⟨insu-03672412⟩
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