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Modeling of current characteristics of segmented Langmuir probe on DEMETER

Abstract : We model the current characteristics of the DEMETER Segmented Langmuir probe (SLP). The probe is used to measure electron density and temperature in the ionosphere at an altitude of approximately 700 km. It is also used to measure the plasma flow velocity in the satellite frame of reference. The probe is partitioned into seven collectors: six electrically insulated spherical segments and a guard electrode (the rest of the sphere and the small post). Comparisons are made between the predictions of the model and DEMETER measurements for actual ionospheric plasma conditions encountered along the satellite orbit. Segment characteristics are computed numerically with PTetra, a three-dimensional particle in cell simulation code. In PTetra, space is discretized with an unstructured tetrahedral mesh, thus, enabling a good representation of the probe geometry. The model also accounts for several physical effects of importance in the interaction of spacecraft with the space environment. These include satellite charging, photoelectron, and secondary electron emissions. The model is electrostatic, but it accounts for the presence of a uniform background magnetic field. PTetra simulation results show different characteristics for the different probe segments. The current collected by each segment depends on its orientation with respect to the ram direction, the plasma composition, the magnitude, and the orientation of the magnetic field. It is observed that the presence of light H þ ions leads to a significant increase in the ion current branch of the I-V curves of the negatively polarized SLP. The effect of the magnetic field is demonstrated by varying its magnitude and direction with respect to the reference magnetic field. It is found that the magnetic field appreciably affects the electron current branch of the I-V curves of certain segments on the SLP, whereas the ion current branch remains almost unaffected. PTetra simulations are validated by comparing the computed characteristics and their angular anisotropy with the DEMETER measurements, as simulation results are found to be in good agreement with the measurements. V C 2013 AIP Publishing LLC. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4804336]
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Nadia Imtiaz, Richard Marchand, Jean-Pierre Lebreton. Modeling of current characteristics of segmented Langmuir probe on DEMETER. Physics of Plasmas, American Institute of Physics, 2013, 20 (5), pp.052903. ⟨10.1063/1.4804336⟩. ⟨insu-01258109⟩

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