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Title: Design and testing of miniaturized plasma sensor for measuring hypervelocity impact plasmas

An increasingly notable component of the space environment pertains to the impact of meteoroids and orbital debris on spacecraft and the resulting mechanical and electrical damages. Traveling at speeds of tens of km/s, when these particles, collectively referred to as hypervelocity particles, impact a satellite, they vaporize, ionize, and produce a radially expanding plasma that can generate electrically harmful radio frequency emission or serve as a trigger for electrostatic discharge. In order to measure the flux, composition, energy distribution, and temperature of ions and electrons in this plasma, a miniaturized plasma sensor has been developed for carrying out in-situ measurements in space. The sensor comprises an array of electrostatic analyzer wells split into 16 different channels, catering to different species and energy ranges in the plasma. We present results from numerical simulation based optimization of sensor geometry. A novel approach of fabricating the sensor using printed circuit boards is implemented. We also describe the test setup used for calibrating the sensor and show results demonstrating the energy band pass characteristics of the sensor. In addition to the hypervelocity impact plasmas, the plasma sensor developed can also be used to carry out measurements of ionospheric plasma, diagnostics of plasma propulsion systems,more » and in other space physics experiments.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22392449
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Review of Scientific Instruments; Journal Volume: 86; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DESIGN; ELECTRONS; ELECTROSTATIC ANALYZERS; ENERGY RANGE; ENERGY SPECTRA; GEOMETRY; PLASMA DIAGNOSTICS; PRINTED CIRCUITS; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; RADIOWAVE RADIATION; SENSORS