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Title: A laboratory experiment to examine the effect of auroral beams on spacecraft charging in the ionosphere

Abstract

A 2.54 cm diameter conducting electrically isolated Copper sphere is suspended in a low density (10{sup 4} cm{sup -3}), low temperature (T{sub e} = 0.5 eV) Argon plasma, which mimics a spacecraft in an ionospheric plasma. An electron beam with current density of approximately 10{sup -10} A/cm{sup 2} and beam spot of 10.2 cm diameter, which mimics an auroral electron beam, is fired at the sphere while varying the beam energy from 100 eV to 2 keV. The plasma potential in the sheath around the sphere is measured using an emissive probe as the electron beam energy is varied. To observe the effects of the electron beam, the experimental sheath potential profiles are compared to a model of the plasma potential around a spherically symmetric charge distribution in the absence of electron beams. Comparison between the experimental data and the model shows that the sphere is less negative than the model predicts by up to half a volt for beam energies that produce high secondary electron emission from the surface of the sphere. It is shown that this secondary emission can account for changes in potential of spacecraft in the ionosphere as they pass through auroral beams and thus helpsmore » to improve interpretations of ionospheric thermal ion distributions.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ; ;  [2];  [3]
  1. Department of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755 (United States)
  3. Space Science Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22043514
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 18; Journal Issue: 9; Other Information: (c) 2011 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ARGON; CHARGE DISTRIBUTION; CURRENT DENSITY; DENSITY; ELECTRON BEAMS; ELECTRON EMISSION; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; EV RANGE 100-1000; ION TEMPERATURE; IONOSPHERE; KEV RANGE; PLASMA; PLASMA DENSITY; PLASMA POTENTIAL; PLASMA SHEATH; SECONDARY EMISSION; SURFACES; SYMMETRY

Citation Formats

Siddiqui, M. U., Gayetsky, L. E., Mella, M. R., Lynch, K. A., and Lessard, M. R. A laboratory experiment to examine the effect of auroral beams on spacecraft charging in the ionosphere. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1063/1.3640512.
Siddiqui, M. U., Gayetsky, L. E., Mella, M. R., Lynch, K. A., & Lessard, M. R. A laboratory experiment to examine the effect of auroral beams on spacecraft charging in the ionosphere. United States. doi:10.1063/1.3640512.
Siddiqui, M. U., Gayetsky, L. E., Mella, M. R., Lynch, K. A., and Lessard, M. R. Thu . "A laboratory experiment to examine the effect of auroral beams on spacecraft charging in the ionosphere". United States. doi:10.1063/1.3640512.
@article{osti_22043514,
title = {A laboratory experiment to examine the effect of auroral beams on spacecraft charging in the ionosphere},
author = {Siddiqui, M. U. and Gayetsky, L. E. and Mella, M. R. and Lynch, K. A. and Lessard, M. R.},
abstractNote = {A 2.54 cm diameter conducting electrically isolated Copper sphere is suspended in a low density (10{sup 4} cm{sup -3}), low temperature (T{sub e} = 0.5 eV) Argon plasma, which mimics a spacecraft in an ionospheric plasma. An electron beam with current density of approximately 10{sup -10} A/cm{sup 2} and beam spot of 10.2 cm diameter, which mimics an auroral electron beam, is fired at the sphere while varying the beam energy from 100 eV to 2 keV. The plasma potential in the sheath around the sphere is measured using an emissive probe as the electron beam energy is varied. To observe the effects of the electron beam, the experimental sheath potential profiles are compared to a model of the plasma potential around a spherically symmetric charge distribution in the absence of electron beams. Comparison between the experimental data and the model shows that the sphere is less negative than the model predicts by up to half a volt for beam energies that produce high secondary electron emission from the surface of the sphere. It is shown that this secondary emission can account for changes in potential of spacecraft in the ionosphere as they pass through auroral beams and thus helps to improve interpretations of ionospheric thermal ion distributions.},
doi = {10.1063/1.3640512},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
issn = {1070-664X},
number = 9,
volume = 18,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {9}
}