Axetris AG

Built into the MERTIS IR Spectrometer as part of ESA’s BepiColombo Mission - Case study


Courtesy of Axetris AG

Axetris Infrared Sources ready for take-off to Mercury

The BepiColombo Mission is being jointly planned between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Axetris Infrared Sources are being used in the mid-IR spectrometer MERTIS that will be on-board the Mercury Orbiter

The BepiColombo Mission
Mercury is the smallest and least explored planet in our solar system. Studying Mercury's surface in order to understand its formation history is a major goal of the planned mission. The Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer (MERTIS) will be instrumental in mapping surface mineralogy, analyzing surface composition, and studying thermal effects on Mercury's surface.

Studying Spectra in the 7-14 pm Range
The IR spectrometer will operate in the 7-14 urn wavelength range for detecting elemental signatures of minerals such as feldspars, elemental sulfur, and other rock-forming minerals abundant on Mercury. The spectrometer is based on sequential emission measurements. A stable emission from a reference blackbody source (held at 700K / 427°C) is a prerequisite to attain the required spectral resolution.

Axetris MEMS-based Infrared Sources as Blackbody Emitters
The Electrically Modulated Infrared Sources (EMIRS200) from Axetris were chosen due to their black body emission characteristics. Long lifetime and emission stability are key strengths of the MEMS-based design.

The unique design of EMIRS200 is based on a resistive heating element integrated onto a thin dielectric membrane which is suspended on a micro-machined silicon structure. The sources are packaged in compact TO-39 cans and are available with protective cap or with reflector. They can be fitted either with Sapphire, CaF2 or BaF2 or Germanium windows.

EMIRS 200 from Axetris are now built intoMERTIS, and ready for take-off to study one of the most intriguing planets in our solar system.

Key Facts BepiColombo Mission / MERTIS

  • Approximate 7 years flight time to Mercury
  • Launch Mass 4100 kg
  • Temperatures endured up to 350°C
  • Operational Lifetime > 1 year after reaching final orbit
  • Mercury Planetary Orbiter(MPO) will carry 11 instruments, one of which is MERTIS

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