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A prototype Cylindrical And Tiny Spectrometer for the rapid energy analysis of space plasmas

Bedington, R; (2012) A prototype Cylindrical And Tiny Spectrometer for the rapid energy analysis of space plasmas. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Miniaturised space plasma analysers allow for lower cost plasma measurements for space science and for space weather monitoring applications; further miniaturisation will make possible nanosat-scale plasma instruments. Small instruments produced in large numbers are ideal for very-large-scale swarm and constellation missions. The field of MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) potentially enables all these possibilities. This thesis introduces these themes and describes the conception and development of CATS (Cylindrical And Tiny Spectrometer), an instrument designed with MEMS in mind. CATS uses an innovative, highly-miniaturised, concentric cylindrical geometry that is able to measure simultaneously, multiple energies of both electrons and ions in space plasmas. A prototype of a CATS analyser head has been fabricated – the critical electrodes by electron discharge machining – and has been demonstrated with 30 eV to 8 keV electrons in a laboratory environment. A CEM (channel electron multiplier) and a CCD (charge coupled device) have been adapted for use with the prototype. The CCD is a back-illuminated, ion-implanted device that has been used to detect electrons directly—the first known use of such a device in an analyser instrument. The prototype design has also been extensively modelled using SIMION charged particle ray-tracing simulations, run within a tool-kit of specially created and highly sophisticated IDL automation and analysis routines. This has revealed the focussing properties of the design and options for improvements. The experimental results were compared with the simulation results and discrepancies were revealed that suggested deviations from the design specification. These deviations were confirmed, in part, by a visual inspection. Recommendations for future work and possible applications of the instrument are discussed, including the destination of the current CATS prototype and CCD detector: PoleCATS, a student-led, educational project to develop a low-altitude sounding rocket instrument.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: A prototype Cylindrical And Tiny Spectrometer for the rapid energy analysis of space plasmas
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1370609
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