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Design and Optimization of a High-Time-Resolution Magnetic Plasma Analyzer (MPA)

Criton, B; Nicolaou, G; Verscharen, D; (2020) Design and Optimization of a High-Time-Resolution Magnetic Plasma Analyzer (MPA). Applied Sciences , 10 (23) , Article 8483. 10.3390/app10238483. Green open access

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Abstract

In-situ measurements of space plasma throughout the solar system require high time resolution to understand the plasma’s kinetic fine structure and evolution. In this context, research is conducted to design instruments with the capability to acquire the plasma velocity distribution and its moments with high cadence. We study a new instrument design, using a constant magnetic field generated by two permanent magnets, to analyze solar wind protons and α-particles with high time resolution. We determine the optimal configuration of the instrument in terms of aperture size, sensor position, pixel size and magnetic field strength. We conduct this analysis based on analytical calculations and SIMION simulations of the particle trajectories in our instrument. We evaluate the velocity resolution of the instrument as well as Poisson errors associated with finite counting statistics. Our instrument is able to resolve Maxwellian and κ-distributions for both protons and α-particles. This method retrieves measurements of the moments (density, bulk speed and temperature) with a relative error below 1%. Our instrument design achieves these results with an acquisition time of only 5 ms, significantly faster than state-of-the-art electrostatic analyzers. Although the instrument only acquires one-dimensional cuts of the distribution function in velocity space, the simplicity and reliability of the presented instrument concept are two key advantages of our new design.

Type: Article
Title: Design and Optimization of a High-Time-Resolution Magnetic Plasma Analyzer (MPA)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/app10238483
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/app10238483
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: solar wind; space plasma; in-situ plasma analyzer; high time resolution; small-scale processes; magnetic analyzer
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116264
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