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8th Spacecraft Charging Technology Conference


Spacecraft Charging Technology

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Making measurements of electron emission properties of insulators is difficult since insulators can charge either negatively or positively under charge particle bombardment. In addition, high incident energies or high fluences can result in modification of a material’s conductivity, bulk and surface charge profile, structural makeup through bond breaking and defect creation, and emission properties. We discuss here some of the charging difficulties associated with making insulator-yield measurements and review the methods used in previous studies of electron emission from insulators. We present work undertaken by our group to make consistent and accurate measurements of the electron/ion yield properties for numerous thin-film and thick insulator materials using innovative instrumentation and techniques. We also summarize some of the necessary instrumentation developed for this purpose including fast-response, low-noise, highsensitivity ammeters; signal isolation and interface to standard computer data acquisition apparatus using opto-isolation, sample-and-hold, and boxcar integration techniques; computer control, automation and timing using Labview software; a multiple sample carousel; a pulsed, compact, low-energy, charge neutralization electron flood gun; and pulsed visible and UV light neutralization sources. This work is supported through funding from the NASA Space Environments and Effects Program and the NASA Graduate Research Fellowship Program.


Paper presented at the 8th Spacecraft Charging Technology Conference. PDF available for download through link above.

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