EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Development of a 3D-printed ion-electron plasma spectrometer with an hemispheric field of view for microsats and planetary missions

Gwendal Hénaff1, Matthieu Berthomier1, Leblanc Frédéric1, Techer Jean-Denis1, Degret Gabriel2, and Pledel Sylvain1
Gwendal Hénaff et al.
  • 1Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, Ecole Polytechnique, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris, France
  • 2Division Technique de l’INSU/CNRS, 1 place Aristide Briand, 92195 Meudon, France

One of the challenges in space instrumentation is to measure the energy and 3D angular distribution of charged particles within the limited resources available on planetary missions. Current electrostatic energy analyzers allow the measurement of the energy and angular distribution of charged particles around a 2D viewing plane.

Since most planetary probes are three-axis stabilized, electrostatic scanning deflectors are needed to provide the 3D distribution of charged particles using a minimum of two sensors. However, deflections up to +/- 90° cannot be achieved at high energy (above 10-15 keV) while higher energy accelerated particles play a key role in the dynamics of planetary magnetospheres. In addition, electrons and positive ions have to be measured with dedicated sensors which increases the complexity of plasma payloads and of their accommodation on planetary platforms.

We introduce a novel instrument design, that would allow measurement of the energy spectrum and 3D angular distribution of charged particles on three-axis stabilized platforms without using scanning deflectors. The design is possible using new electrostatic geometries and the capability of additive manufacturing technology. An innovative and compact ion/electron detection system is used to simultaneously observe both type of particles with a single sensor.

 We show that we reach the performance of current reference designs while having a true 3D field of view and significantly reducing the payload needs. With a mass budget of 2 kg, our combined electron/ion instrument fits the requirements to fly aboard small satellites. It would significantly reduce the size and cost of the platform and may open new perspectives for planetary exploration by a fleet of micro/nano-satellites.

How to cite: Hénaff, G., Berthomier, M., Frédéric, L., Jean-Denis, T., Gabriel, D., and Sylvain, P.: Development of a 3D-printed ion-electron plasma spectrometer with an hemispheric field of view for microsats and planetary missions, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-2838,, 2023.