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Title: Spacecraft-charging mitigation of a high-power electron beam emitted by a magnetospheric spacecraft: Simple theoretical model for the transient of the spacecraft potential

Abstract

A spacecraft-charging mitigation scheme necessary for the operation of a high-power electron beam in the low-density magnetosphere is analyzed. The scheme is based on a plasma contactor, i.e. a high-density charge-neutral plasma emitted prior to and during beam emission, and its ability to emit high ion currents without strong space-charge limitations. A simple theoretical model for the transient of the spacecraft potential and contactor expansion during beam emission is presented. The model focuses on the contactor ion dynamics and is valid in the limit when the ion contactor current is equal to the beam current. The model is found in very good agreement with Particle-In-Cell simulations over a large parametric study that varies the initial expansion time of the contactor, the contactor current and the ion mass. The model highlights the physics of the spacecraft-charging mitigation scheme, indicating that the most important part of the dynamics is the evolution of the outermost ion front which is pushed away by the charge accumulated in the system by the beam. The model can be also used to estimate the long-time evolution of the spacecraft potential. For a short contactor expansion (0.3 or 0.6 ms Helium plasma or 0.8 ms Argon plasma, bothmore » with 1 mA current) it yields a peak spacecraft potential of the order of 1-3 kV. This implies that a 1-mA relativistic electron beam would be easily emitted by the spacecraft.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Space Science Inst., Boulder, CO (United States)
  3. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States). Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  4. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States). Applied Physics Program
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1440475
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-27668
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9380; TRN: US1900742
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 123; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9380
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Spacecraft charging; Electron beams; Plasma contactors; Magnetosphere‐Ionosphere coupling; Particle‐In‐Cell simulations

Citation Formats

Castello, Federico Lucco, Delzanno, Gian Luca, Borovsky, Joseph E., Miars, Grant, Leon, Omar, and Gilchrist, Brian E. Spacecraft-charging mitigation of a high-power electron beam emitted by a magnetospheric spacecraft: Simple theoretical model for the transient of the spacecraft potential. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2017JA024926.
Castello, Federico Lucco, Delzanno, Gian Luca, Borovsky, Joseph E., Miars, Grant, Leon, Omar, & Gilchrist, Brian E. Spacecraft-charging mitigation of a high-power electron beam emitted by a magnetospheric spacecraft: Simple theoretical model for the transient of the spacecraft potential. United States. doi:10.1029/2017JA024926.
Castello, Federico Lucco, Delzanno, Gian Luca, Borovsky, Joseph E., Miars, Grant, Leon, Omar, and Gilchrist, Brian E. Tue . "Spacecraft-charging mitigation of a high-power electron beam emitted by a magnetospheric spacecraft: Simple theoretical model for the transient of the spacecraft potential". United States. doi:10.1029/2017JA024926. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1440475.
@article{osti_1440475,
title = {Spacecraft-charging mitigation of a high-power electron beam emitted by a magnetospheric spacecraft: Simple theoretical model for the transient of the spacecraft potential},
author = {Castello, Federico Lucco and Delzanno, Gian Luca and Borovsky, Joseph E. and Miars, Grant and Leon, Omar and Gilchrist, Brian E.},
abstractNote = {A spacecraft-charging mitigation scheme necessary for the operation of a high-power electron beam in the low-density magnetosphere is analyzed. The scheme is based on a plasma contactor, i.e. a high-density charge-neutral plasma emitted prior to and during beam emission, and its ability to emit high ion currents without strong space-charge limitations. A simple theoretical model for the transient of the spacecraft potential and contactor expansion during beam emission is presented. The model focuses on the contactor ion dynamics and is valid in the limit when the ion contactor current is equal to the beam current. The model is found in very good agreement with Particle-In-Cell simulations over a large parametric study that varies the initial expansion time of the contactor, the contactor current and the ion mass. The model highlights the physics of the spacecraft-charging mitigation scheme, indicating that the most important part of the dynamics is the evolution of the outermost ion front which is pushed away by the charge accumulated in the system by the beam. The model can be also used to estimate the long-time evolution of the spacecraft potential. For a short contactor expansion (0.3 or 0.6 ms Helium plasma or 0.8 ms Argon plasma, both with 1 mA current) it yields a peak spacecraft potential of the order of 1-3 kV. This implies that a 1-mA relativistic electron beam would be easily emitted by the spacecraft.},
doi = {10.1029/2017JA024926},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics},
issn = {2169-9380},
number = 8,
volume = 123,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

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