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Numerical modelling of Langmuir probe measurements for the Swarm spacecraft
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Space Plasma Physics.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This work studies the current collected by the spherical Langmuir probes to be mounted on the ESA Swarm satellites in order to quantify deviations from idealized cases caused by non-ideal probe geometry. The finite-element particle-in-cell code SPIS is used to model the current collection of a realistic probe, including the support structures, for two ionospheric plasma conditions with and without drift velocity. SPIS simulations are verified by comparing simulations of an ideal sphere at rest to previous numerical results by Laframboise parametrized to sufficient accuracy. It is found that for probe potentials much above the equivalent electron temperature, the deviations from ideal geometry decrease the current by up to 25 % compared to the ideal sphere case and thus must be corrected if data from this part of the probe curve has to be used for plasma density derivations. In comparison to the non-drifting case, including a plasma ram flow increases the current for probe potentials around and below the equivalent ion energy, as the contribution of the ions to the shielding is reduced by their high flow energy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Langmuir probe, ionosphere, numerical simulation, Swarm satellites
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-148633OAI: diva2:402588
Educational program
Master Programme in Physics
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Available from: 2011-07-06 Created: 2011-03-08 Last updated: 2011-07-06Bibliographically approved

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