UV-VIS-NIR Spectrometer Designed for Mars, now available on Earth

As part of ESA’s ExoMars mission, a spectrometer was designed by TNO. Though the spectrometer did not make it to space, SPECTRAL Industries was inspired by it and developed an industrially applicable spectrometer. Hittech Multin contributed to the opto-mechanical design, manufacturing and assembly.


Laser-induced breakdown spectrometry (LIBS) is able to examine  chemical or biological composition in any form of matter. As the SPECTRAL Industries LIBS instrumentation is inspired by space technology, its optical design is more robust than laboratory instrumentation. This eliminates the need for additional calibration or alignment and opens possibilities for selective mining in geologically complex fields.

Opto-mechanical design

Hittech Multin promoted the optical plan into a robust opto-mechanical design. Starting-point is a solid block of anodized aluminum as a base. Then, each optical element is inserted by a suitable mount. O-rings guarantee a dust-tight system, that can be purged with gas.

Design challenges

  • Robust, optical stable and cost-effective mechanical design
  • Slit adjustment with flexure mechanism within 0.01 mm
  • Opto-mechanical component positioning within ± 0.1 mm
  • Camera focus adjustment resolution 0.01 mm


  • Spectral range: 300 to 800 nm, with DUV option: 180 to 800 nm
  • Resolution: 07 – 0.3 nm  (at 180 – 800 nm)
  • Wavelength stability on temperature: < 5 pm/K
  • Robust design, able to withstand harsh environments
  • Economically affordable
  • OEM possible

Future work

  • Extensive performance testing
  • Software development to improve ease of operation.
  • Augment the spectrometer with laser excitation for LIBS functionality

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