A CubeSAT payload for in-situ monitoring of pentacene degradation due to atomic oxygen etching in LEO
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This paper reports and discusses the design and ground tests of a CubeSat payload which allows to measure, in-situ and in real time, the degradation of a polymer of electronic interest due to atomic oxygen etching in LEO. It provides real-time information on how the degradation occurs, eliminating the need to work with samples recovered once the mission has finished. The polymer, TIPS-Pentacene, is deposited on the surface of a microelectromechanical (MEMS) cantilever, which works as a resonator embedded in a Pulsed Digital Oscillator circuit. The mass losses in the polymer due to atomic oxygen corrosion produce variations in the resonant frequency of the MEMS, which is continuously sensed by the circuit and transmitted to the ground. This way, polymer mass losses around 10-12 kg can be detected during the mission. The payload is a part of the 3Cat-1 mission, a nano-satellite aimed at carrying out several scientific experiments.
CitationGorreta, S., Pons, J., Lopez, G., Figueras, E., Jove-Casulleras, R., Araguz, C., Via, P., Camps, A., Dominguez, M. A CubeSAT payload for in-situ monitoring of pentacene degradation due to atomic oxygen etching in LEO. "Acta astronautica", 1 Setembre 2016, vol. 126, p. 456-462.
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