Planetary X-ray Fluorescence is the process where secondary X-rays are emitted from an atom that has been energetically excited by primary X-rays. In planetary XRF, solar X-rays act as the exciting radiation, thus the experiments are limited to bodies in the inner solar system (with sufficient solar X-ray flux) with no atmosphere that would otherwise absorb the radiation, such as the Moon and Mercury. The instruments designed and manufactured at RAL are compact and lightweight and have been shown to work with solar flares as small as C3.
RAL Space produced two instruments (D-CIX and C1XS) and have worked with Birkbeck University of London, Aberystwyth University, Brunel University and Indian Space Research Organisation.
The X-ray spectrometers can be used on orbiter missions to bodies that have thin atmospheres reasonably close to the sun. RAL Space's design means that the detectors run at temperatures that can be achieved using passive cooling and the instrument has a very small size and low mass.
For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries