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8th Spacecraft Charging Technology Conference


Spacecraft Charging Technology

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We present the results of our measurements of the electron emission properties of selected insulating and conducting materials used on the International Space Station (ISS). Utah State University (USU) has performed measurements of the electron-, ion-, and photon-induced electron emission properties of conductors for a few years, and has recently extended our capabilities to measure electron yields of insulators, allowing us to significantly expand current spacecraft material charging databases. These ISS materials data are used here to illustrate our various insulator measurement techniques that include: i) Studies of electron-induced secondary and backscattered electron yield curves using pulsed, low current electron beams to minimize deleterious affects of insulator charging. ii) Comparison of several methods used to determine the insulator 1st and 2nd crossover energies. These incident electron energies induce unity total yield at the transition between yields greater than and less than one with either negative or positive charging, respectively. The crossover energies are very important in determining both the polarity and magnitude of spacecraft surface potentials. iii) Evolution of electron emission energy spectra as a function of insulator charging used to determine the surface potential of insulators. iv) Surface potential evolution as a function of pulsed-electron fluence to determine how quickly insulators charge, and how this can affect subsequent electron yields. v) Critical incident electron energies resulting in electrical breakdown of insulator materials and the effect of breakdown on subsequent emission, charging and conduction. vi) Charge-neutralization techniques such as low-energy electron flooding and UV light irradiation to dissipate both positive and negative surface potentials during yield measurements. Specific ISS materials being tested at USU include chromic and sulfuric anodized aluminum, RTVsilicone solar array adhesives, solar cell cover glasses, KaptonTM, and gold. Further details of the USU testing facilities, the instrumentation used for insulator measurements, and the NASA/SEE Charge Collector materials database are provided in other Spacecraft Charging Conference presentations (Dennison, 2003b). The work presented was supported in part by the NASA Space Environments and Effects (SEE) Program, the Boeing Corporation, and a NASA Graduate Fellowship. Samples were supplied by Boeing, the Environmental Effects Group at Marshall Space Flight Center, and Sheldahl, Inc.


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

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