A novel laser desorption mass spectrometry technique for the in-situ detection of biomolecules on space missions
Niels Ligterink  1, *@  , Valentine Grimaudo  2  , Pavel Moreno-García  3  , Reto Wiesendanger  2  , Rustam Lukmanov  2  , Marek Tulej  2  , Robert Lindner  4  , Peter Wurz  2  , Pascale Ehrenfreund  5  , Andreas Riedo  2, 5  
1 : Center for Space and Habitability, University of Bern
2 : Space Research and Planetary Sciences, Physics Institute, University of Bern
3 : Interfacial Electrochemistry Group, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern
4 : Life Support and Physical Sciences Instrumentation Section, European Space Agency, ESTEC
5 : Sackler laboratory for astrophysics, Leiden Observatory, Leiden University
* : Corresponding author

In this talk, we present a novel Laser Desorption – Mass Spectrometry (LDMS) system, for the in-situ investigation of biomolecules on surfaces of solar-system objects. Specifically developed for space exploration, the system consists of a miniature Time-of-Flight MS and single laser desorption / ionization scheme. The first measurements performed on amino acids show these are identified by unique, sparse mass features and at a sensitivity down to 10 femtomole.


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