Cryogenic X-Ray Diffraction (CryoXRD) Lab

CryoXRD Lab
Equipment inside the CryoXRD lab.

The CryoXRD Lab has been developed to better understand the mineralogy of Ocean Worlds and support science validation of instruments in development:

  1. What is the nature of icy minerals formed on the surface and within the icy shells of Ocean Worlds like Europa, Titan, Enceladus, and Ceres?
  2. What may the mineral assemblages formed tell us about the composition of their interior ocean, pertaining to their potential habitability?
  3. How well can flight instruments retrieve the proportions of these minerals to address these questions?


The CryoXRD Lab has been designed to prepare and analyze the composition of icy materials relevant to Ocean Worlds, under the appropriate temperature conditions.  Samples can be prepared and analyzed directly within the CryoXRD instrument.  The new LN2 line needed for the CryoXRD also feeds additional sample preparation equipment to test the influence of freezing rate and duration.  An Electro-Tech Systems glove box (room temperature to -40C) and a Fisher CryoMed freezer (room to liquid nitrogen temperature) allow separate preparation of samples for analysis with XRD and also with other techniques (e.g. Raman, IR).

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