Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Atmospheric Chemistry Program Seminar

Development of a “Lab-on-a-chip” platform, Victoria Arau, CU Boulder ANYL 1st year student, Browne group

and Very Remote Field Studies of Frost Formation on Mars Using the Curiosity Rover, Raina Gough, CU ANYL Research Scientist, Tolbert Group

Arau: "Current detection methods for environmental contaminants (which include but are not limited to HPLC, GC-MS, LC-MS, and LC-MS/MS) are generally time-consuming, expensive, and lack portability, limiting field deployment. Herein we evaluate a microfluidic electrochemical cell with viability for an in situ field deployment. The microfluidic channel consists of an interdigitated microelectrode and granulated activated carbon electrodes for optimized sensitivity. Electrochemical response is monitored using cyclic voltammetry with a known redox standard, with consistency in this response between macroelectrode systems and this microelectrode system. The linearity of the peak-current versus square root of scan rate demonstrates chemical reversibility, suggesting operability of this device. Results here suggest feasibility for further development of this technology as a sensor with real-time in situ capabilities. "


Gough: "For the last 3 years, I have been a Participating Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory (aka: Curiosity) mission. This rover has traversed the Martian surface since 2012, totaling 4 full Mars years of environmental and geological observations. In this talk, I will summarize some of the most interesting results from the mission and talk about my role in planning the rover's science operations. I will also discuss a series of frost-detection experiments performed on Mars that I helped to lead. Although there is little water vapor on Mars, it is expected that water exchanges seasonally and diurnally with the surface. The rover’s weather station had predicted that frost should indeed form on the soil in the early morning in the winter. However, no condensed phase water had been observed along the rover’s traverse, until recently. Last November, we successfully used the rover’s laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument to detect enhanced hydrogen on the soil just before dawn. We believe that this indicates the presence of diurnally exchanged water, potentially frost. I will discuss these results, and also some of the unexpected hurdles to performing science on Mars."


Monday, March 9, 2020
12:00 pm



  • CU Boulder


  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public




Ekeley S274