The entrance system laboratory prototype for an advanced mass and ionic charge composition experiment

Rev Sci Instrum. 2009 Oct;80(10):104502. doi: 10.1063/1.3247906.


Electrostatic analyzers (ESA) have been used extensively for the characterization of plasmas in a variety of space environments. They vary in shape, geometry, and size and are adapted to the specific particle population to be measured and the configuration of the spacecraft. Their main function is to select the energy per charge of the particles within a passband. An energy-per-charge range larger than that of the passband can be sampled by varying the voltage difference between the ESA electrodes. The voltage sweep takes time and reduces the duty cycle for a particular energy-per-charge passband. Our design approach for an advanced mass and ionic charge composition experiment (AMICCE) has a novel electrostatic analyzer that essentially serves as a spectrograph and selects ions simultaneously over a broad range of energy-per-charge (E/q). Only three voltage settings are required to cover the entire range from approximately 10 to 270 keV/q, thus dramatically increasing the product of the geometric factor times the duty cycle when compared with other instruments. In this paper, we describe the AMICCE concept with particular emphasis on the prototype of the entrance system (ESA and collimator), which we designed, developed, and tested. We also present comparisons of the laboratory results with electrostatic simulations.