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Due to the specialist nature of the research we undertake, it is often not possible to buy the instruments we need “off-the-shelf”. This is of course particularly true in the case of spaceflight instruments for in-situ planetary exploration, where every instrument is a “one-off” designed with a particular target in mind.

We therefore have extensive laboratory facilities in which we can develop and prototype the next generation of analytical instruments and mass spectrometers. A well-equipped general development laboratory houses assembly and test benches, vacuum pumping stations and vacuum chambers, diagnostic mass spectrometers and helium leak detectors, instrument control hardware and software, plus all the associated tools and equipment to enable efficient development and testing of new instrumentation. A dedicated chemical laboratory is located alongside, which can be used in a “clean room” mode as necessary, in which specialist cleaning procedures can be undertaken or analytical reagents can be prepared and integrated within new instruments. The instrument development suite is completed by an assembly clean room, in which instruments can be built and tested to spaceflight standards of cleanliness.

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