skip to main content

Title: Detection of electromagnetic pulses produced by hypervelocity micro particle impact plasmas

Hypervelocity micro particles (mass < 1 ng), including meteoroids and space debris, routinely impact spacecraft and produce plasmas that are initially dense (∼10{sup 28} m{sup −3}), but rapidly expand into the surrounding vacuum. We report the detection of radio frequency (RF) emission associated with electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) from hypervelocity impacts of micro particles in ground-based experiments using micro particles that are 15 orders of magnitude less massive than previously observed. The EMP production is a stochastic process that is influenced by plasma turbulence such that the EMP detection rate that is strongly dependent on impact speed and on the electrical charge conditions at the impact surface. In particular, impacts of the fastest micro particles occurring under spacecraft charging conditions representative of high geomagnetic activity are the most likely to produce RF emission. This new phenomenon may provide a source for unexplained RF measurements on spacecraft charged to high potentials.
Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1] ; ; ;  [2] ; ; ;  [3]
  1. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305 (United States)
  2. Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305 (United States)
  3. Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme, Universität Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 29, 70569 Stuttgart (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22220570
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 9; Other Information: (c) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; BEAM-PLASMA SYSTEMS; DETECTION; ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSES; EMISSION; PLASMA DIAGNOSTICS; RADIOWAVE RADIATION; SPACE CHARGE; STOCHASTIC PROCESSES; TURBULENCE