Current limiting mechanisms in electron and ion beams experiments
Olsen, Richard Christopher
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The emission and collection of current from satellites or rockets in the ionosphere is a process which, at equilibrium, requires a balance between inward and outward currents. In most active experiments in the ionosphere and magnetosphere, the emitted current exceeds the integrated thermal current by one or more orders of magnitude. The system response is typically for the emitted current to be limited by processes such as differential charging of insulating surfaces, interactions between an emitted beam and the local plasma, and interactions between the beam and local neutral gas. These current limiting mechanisms have been illustrated for 20 years in sounding rocket and satellite experiments, which are reviewed here. Detailed presentations of the SCATHA electron and ion gun experiments are used to demonstrate the general range of observed phenomena. Keywords: Spacecraft charging; Electron beams; Ion beams; Active charge control
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NPS Report NumberNPS-61-89-013
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