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Title: Tethered Capacitor Charge Mitigation in Electron Beam Experiments

Abstract

Energetic electron beams have been proposed for tracing magnetic field lines from the magnetosphere down to the ionosphere, in active experiments aimed at diagnosing mechanisms at play in the coupling between magnetosphere and ionosphere. It is recognized however that in the absence of an efficient mitigation technique, this approach would lead to unacceptably large spacecraft charging and positive potential buildup, which would result in environmental hazard for the spacecraft. This problem would be particularly acute in low density regions of the magnetosphere of interest in the study of magnetic field reconnection and substorm dynamics. A solution to this predicament could consist of creating a plasma contactor whereby a gas puff would be ionized, leading to the evacuation of positive charges and collection of cold electrons, thus compensating for the charges lost in the electron beam. A possible alternative is presented here, which consists of attaching a large passive conducting surface to the spacecraft, a “tethered capacitor”, from which negative charges would be drawn to compensate for those lost from the beam. This capacitor would then charge to a large positive potential, leaving the spacecraft and electron gun at a lower, acceptable positive potential. The tethered capacitor could have a relativelymore » small mass; consisting only of a thin conducting surface that would be “inflated” as a result of repulsive electrostatic forces. This charge mitigation concept, as applied to active electron beam experiments, is explored using three dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations from which scaling laws can be inferred for the spacecraft and tethered capacitor potentials under proposed electron beam operations.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (Canada)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1558211
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-18-30554
Journal ID: ISSN 2296-987X
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2296-987X
Publisher:
Frontiers Research Foundation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY

Citation Formats

Marchand, Richard, and Delzanno, Gian Luca. Tethered Capacitor Charge Mitigation in Electron Beam Experiments. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3389/fspas.2018.00042.
Marchand, Richard, & Delzanno, Gian Luca. Tethered Capacitor Charge Mitigation in Electron Beam Experiments. United States. doi:10.3389/fspas.2018.00042.
Marchand, Richard, and Delzanno, Gian Luca. Thu . "Tethered Capacitor Charge Mitigation in Electron Beam Experiments". United States. doi:10.3389/fspas.2018.00042. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1558211.
@article{osti_1558211,
title = {Tethered Capacitor Charge Mitigation in Electron Beam Experiments},
author = {Marchand, Richard and Delzanno, Gian Luca},
abstractNote = {Energetic electron beams have been proposed for tracing magnetic field lines from the magnetosphere down to the ionosphere, in active experiments aimed at diagnosing mechanisms at play in the coupling between magnetosphere and ionosphere. It is recognized however that in the absence of an efficient mitigation technique, this approach would lead to unacceptably large spacecraft charging and positive potential buildup, which would result in environmental hazard for the spacecraft. This problem would be particularly acute in low density regions of the magnetosphere of interest in the study of magnetic field reconnection and substorm dynamics. A solution to this predicament could consist of creating a plasma contactor whereby a gas puff would be ionized, leading to the evacuation of positive charges and collection of cold electrons, thus compensating for the charges lost in the electron beam. A possible alternative is presented here, which consists of attaching a large passive conducting surface to the spacecraft, a “tethered capacitor”, from which negative charges would be drawn to compensate for those lost from the beam. This capacitor would then charge to a large positive potential, leaving the spacecraft and electron gun at a lower, acceptable positive potential. The tethered capacitor could have a relatively small mass; consisting only of a thin conducting surface that would be “inflated” as a result of repulsive electrostatic forces. This charge mitigation concept, as applied to active electron beam experiments, is explored using three dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations from which scaling laws can be inferred for the spacecraft and tethered capacitor potentials under proposed electron beam operations.},
doi = {10.3389/fspas.2018.00042},
journal = {Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences},
number = ,
volume = 5,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {12}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Illustration of the spacecraft, tether, and spherical capacitor geometry assumed in the simulations. The colors on the sphere show the component of the electric force surface density along z, computed at t = 5.5 ms in the time dependent simulation.

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