JAXA and Nihon Dempa Kogyo Co., Ltd have codeveloped a new sensing system to monitor outgases emitted from components and materials of spacecraft.

Known as Twin QCM, the system is new, world-first upgrade of the existing Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) Sensors which has multiple functions, the most important of which is to monitor and regulate the health of the spacecraft.

The Twin QCM was developed in order to correct the shortcomings of the existing QCM system, which are not as precise as necessary to make accurate assessments of gas outages. The new Twin QCM, which uses twin sensor technology that is currently patented by Nihon Dempa and used in bioanalytics, has been adapted for use in space technology as well as in semiconductor and construction material manufacturing.

JAXA COSMODE, the national space agency’s commercial wing, will begin sales of the Twin QCM, known commercially as the JAXA COSMODE*2, in April 2017.

QCM sensors measure the changes in mass by monitoring the frequency changes of a quartz crystal resonator, and is particularly useful to detect the rate of thin film deposition in a vacuum. It is used not only in space technologies, but also in everyday electronics products such as mobile phones, gaming consoles, digital cameras and personal computers.

Image courtesy of JAXA.

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