Date of Award:

5-2009

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Chris Winstead

Abstract

Space instrumentation technology is an essential tool for rocket and satellite research, and is expected to become popular in commercial and military operations in fields such as radar, imaging, and communications. These instruments are traditionally implemented on printed circuit boards using discrete general-purpose Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) devices and other components. A large circuit board is not convenient for use in micro-satellite deployments, where the total payload volume is limited to roughly one cubic foot. Because micro-satellites represent a fast growing trend in satellite research and development, there is motivation to explore miniaturized custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designs to reduce the volume and power consumption occupied by instrument electronics. In this thesis, a model of a new Plasma Impedance Probe (PIP) architecture, which utilizes a custom-built ADC along with other analog and digital components, is proposed. The model can be fully integrated to produce a low-power, miniaturized impedance probe.

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