The Role of HORIBA

Inventing a special sample cell to securely “protect” samples

The first step of the Chemical Analysis Team’s work is the non-destructive and non-contact analysis of the Ryugu samples, using X-ray fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy, before further analysis using various destructive methods. Accordingly, HORIBA, which plays the role of the “starting runner” in the Chemical Analysis Team, is not only required to provide high-precision analyses, but also to conduct advanced sample handling, keeping sample contamination to an absolute minimum, in order to reliably “pass the baton” onto the next analysis.

To preserve the condition of samples, it is essential to avoid any pretreatment that modifies these, as well as to protect samples in some way from exposure to the atmosphere during storage, transportation, and analysis. Furthermore, it is also necessary to protect samples that come and go among various analyzers, to keep them in the optimal condition for analysis. With all these requirements in mind, we have leveraged the analytical expertise we have cultivated over the years to develop a special container for Ryugu samples, called the “sample cell.”

This sample cell is designed to measure minute amounts of sample accurately. It is a hole carved in a resin plate with a thin PET film underneath that holds the sample. It also ensures strength by using aluminum for the outside lids of the cell. The cells are also hermetically sealed so that samples are not affected by transportation, and by simply removing the aluminum lid, it becomes possible to analyze a sample again using different instruments.

Our analysis was conducted in the “Hayabusa Room” of the “Analytical Solution Plaza,” a state-of-the-art lab in the new head office building of HORIBA Techno Service (a group company), completed in February 2021. We are making the most of our measurement technology and doing our best to fulfill its mission.

Sample cell developed by HORIBA

“Analytical Solution Plaza,” where the Ryugu sample analysis will be performed