NASA has recognized inXitu, Inc. with its 2010 Invention of the Year Award for inXitu's invention of the powder vibration chamber The chamber is used in inXitu's portable X-ray scattering device (XRD) and represents such a 'leap forward' in materials analysis technology that it has been chosen to launch on the Mars Science Laboratory later this year.
inXitu Terra field portable XRD: © inXitu
inXitu Terra field portable XRD in use on geological site: © inXitu
The powder vibration chamber, recognized not only for its technological achievement, but for its commercialization potential, will be used to analyze portable rocks and minerals obtained from Mars. XRD can break down smaller rocks and minerals, even those only micrometer size, into fine powder so that their contents can be analyzed on the spot.
Here's a short video of how that works.
Beyond the 'materials world,' there are bigger plans for incorporating key technologies from its portable XRD instrument and advanced sample handling techniques. inXitu has developed solutions targeted for identification and analysis in the areas of material analysis, pharmaceuticals, forensics, art and archaeological materials.
inXitu also incorporates X-ray fluorescence (XRF) into some of its portable devices.