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Title: Spacecraft charging analysis with the implicit particle-in-cell code iPic3D

We present the first results on the analysis of spacecraft charging with the implicit particle-in-cell code iPic3D, designed for running on massively parallel supercomputers. The numerical algorithm is presented, highlighting the implementation of the electrostatic solver and the immersed boundary algorithm; the latter which creates the possibility to handle complex spacecraft geometries. As a first step in the verification process, a comparison is made between the floating potential obtained with iPic3D and with Orbital Motion Limited theory for a spherical particle in a uniform stationary plasma. Second, the numerical model is verified for a CubeSat benchmark by comparing simulation results with those of PTetra for space environment conditions with increasing levels of complexity. In particular, we consider spacecraft charging from plasma particle collection, photoelectron and secondary electron emission. The influence of a background magnetic field on the floating potential profile near the spacecraft is also considered. Although the numerical approaches in iPic3D and PTetra are rather different, good agreement is found between the two models, raising the level of confidence in both codes to predict and evaluate the complex plasma environment around spacecraft.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Centre for Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B bus 2400, 3001 Leuven (Belgium)
  2. Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2J1 (Canada)
  3. High Performance Computing and Visualization Department, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (Sweden)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22218545
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 10; Other Information: (c) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; 42 ENGINEERING; ALGORITHMS; BENCHMARKS; C CODES; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; ELECTRON EMISSION; ELECTROSTATICS; I CODES; MAGNETIC FIELDS; PLASMA; PLASMA SIMULATION; POTENTIALS; SPACE VEHICLES; SPHERICAL CONFIGURATION