A 2 MV Van de Graaff accelerator as a tool for planetary and impact physics research

Mocker, Anna; Bugiel, Sebastian; Auer, Siegfried; Baust, Günter; Colette, Andrew; Drake, Keith; Fiege, Katherina; Grün, Eberhard; Heckmann, Frieder; Helfert, Stefan; Hillier, Jonathan; Kempf, Sascha; Matt, Günter; Mellert, Tobias; Munsat, Tobin; Otto, Katharina; Postberg, Frank; Röser, Hans-Peter; Shu, Anthony; Sternovsky, Zoltán
September 2011
Review of Scientific Instruments;Sep2011, Vol. 82 Issue 9, p095111
Academic Journal
Investigating the dynamical and physical properties of cosmic dust can reveal a great deal of information about both the dust and its many sources. Over recent years, several spacecraft (e.g., Cassini, Stardust, Galileo, and Ulysses) have successfully characterised interstellar, interplanetary, and circumplanetary dust using a variety of techniques, including in situ analyses and sample return. Charge, mass, and velocity measurements of the dust are performed either directly (induced charge signals) or indirectly (mass and velocity from impact ionisation signals or crater morphology) and constrain the dynamical parameters of the dust grains. Dust compositional information may be obtained via either time-of-flight mass spectrometry of the impact plasma or direct sample return. The accurate and reliable interpretation of collected spacecraft data requires a comprehensive programme of terrestrial instrument calibration. This process involves accelerating suitable solar system analogue dust particles to hypervelocity speeds in the laboratory, an activity performed at the Max Planck Institut für Kernphysik in Heidelberg, Germany. Here, a 2 MV Van de Graaff accelerator electrostatically accelerates charged micron and submicron-sized dust particles to speeds up to 80 km s-1. Recent advances in dust production and processing have allowed solar system analogue dust particles (silicates and other minerals) to be coated with a thin conductive shell, enabling them to be charged and accelerated. Refinements and upgrades to the beam line instrumentation and electronics now allow for the reliable selection of particles at velocities of 1-80 km s-1 and with diameters of between 0.05 μm and 5 μm. This ability to select particles for subsequent impact studies based on their charges, masses, or velocities is provided by a particle selection unit (PSU). The PSU contains a field programmable gate array, capable of monitoring in real time the particles' speeds and charges, and is controlled remotely by a custom, platform independent, software package. The new control instrumentation and electronics, together with the wide range of accelerable particle types, allow the controlled investigation of hypervelocity impact phenomena across a hitherto unobtainable range of impact parameters.


Related Articles

  • Real-time, ultrasensitive monitoring of air toxics by laser photoionization time-of-flight mass... Castaldi, Marco J.; Senkan, Selim M. // Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association;Jan98, Vol. 48 Issue 1, p77 

    Demonstrates a naphthalene detection sensitivity of 4 parts per billion for the monitoring of air toxics by time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Relative ion signal versus concentration of naphthalene; Concentration profile for species with molecular weight 128(naphthalene) as a function of...

  • Pseudorandom time-of-flight analysis with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Bewig, L.; Buck, U.; Gandhi, S.R.; Winter, M. // Review of Scientific Instruments;Feb1996, Vol. 67 Issue 2, p417 

    Describes the advantages of using the pseudorandom time-of-flight (TOF) technique for measuring velocity distributions together with the TOF mass spectrometric detection. Principle of the method; Technical and physical constraints considered in the experimental setup; Application of the method...

  • Are the time resolutions for the conventional and the pseudorandom methods for time-of-flight analysis different? Verheij, Laurens K.; Zeppenfeld, Peter // Review of Scientific Instruments;Nov87, Vol. 58 Issue 11, p2138 

    The pseudorandom method for time-of-flight analysis has the advantage over the conventional method of a greatly improved efficiency, but, according to previous theory, the disadvantage that the time resolution is worse. Here we present an improved theory of pseudorandom modulation. We show that...

  • A LINEAR TOF MASS SPECTROMETER AS A TOOL FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF IMPACT IONISATION PLASMA. Mocker, Anna; Hornung, Klaus; Sternovsky, Zoltán; Kempf, Sascha; Johnson, Theresa; Grün, Eberhard; Srama, Ralf // AIP Conference Proceedings;2012, Vol. 1426 Issue 1, p859 

    The generation of charge during hypervelocity impacts of microparticles provides one of the most sensitive methods for the detection and characterisation of dust particles in space. Linear time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry provides an opportunity for investigating the thermodynamical...

  • A time-of-flight mass spectrometer for detecting a point of air leakage from a spacecraft module. Semkin, N.; Zanin, A.; Piyakov, I.; Voronov, K. // Instruments & Experimental Techniques;Jan2007, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p108 

    The possibility of using a time-of-flight mass spectrometer for determining a point of air leakage from a spacecraft module is discussed. A procedure for carrying out ground experiments in a vacuum chamber is proposed for artificial simulation of the composition of the intrinsic external...

  • Determination of the surface-averaged composition of the regolith of phobos by measurements of the secondary ion flux during the Phobos-Grunt mission in the MANAGA-F experiment. Managadze, G. G.; Sagdeev, R. Z.; Chumikov, A. E.; Cherepin, V. T.; Saralidze, G. Z. // Solar System Research;Oct2010, Vol. 44 Issue 5, p385 

    The onboard time-of-flight mass reflectron MANAGA-F is described which is aimed at measuring the elemental and isotopic composition of the secondary ion fluxes generated under the influence of solar wind. It is shown that by using this apparatus, the composition of the surface regolith layer...

  • Cosima – High Resolution Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer for the Analysis of Cometary Dust Particles onboard Rosetta. Kissel, J.; Altwegg, K.; Clark, B. C.; Colangeli, L.; Cottin, H.; Czempiel, S.; Eibl, J.; Engrand, C.; Fehringer, H. M.; Feuerbacher, B.; Fomenkova, M.; Glasmachers, A.; Greenberg, J. M.; Grün, E.; Haerendel, G.; Henkel, H.; Hilchenbach, M.; vonHoerner, H.; Höfner, H.; Hornung, K. // Space Science Reviews;Oct2006, Vol. 128 Issue 1-4, p823 

    The ESA mission Rosetta, launched on March 2nd, 2004, carries an instrument suite to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Anaylzer – COSIMA – is one of three cometary dust analyzing instruments onboard Rosetta. COSIMA is based on the analytic...

  • Condensed-Phase Mass Fraction in a Supersonic Molecular Beam Containing Clusters. Knuth, Eldon L.; Toennies, J. Peter // AIP Conference Proceedings;12/31/2008, Vol. 1084 Issue 1, p583 

    For a supersonic molecular beam containing clusters, a relatively general and simple conservation-of-energy procedure for deducing from time-of-flight measurements the fraction of the beam in the condensed phase is developed. The procedure is applied to measurements for 4He beams formed by...

  • A Bayesian network approach to feature selection in mass spectrometry data. Kuschner, Karl W.; Malyarenko, Dariya I.; Cooke, William E.; Cazares, Lisa H.; Semmes, O. J.; Tracy, Eugene R. // BMC Bioinformatics;2010, Vol. 11, p177 

    Background: Time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) has the potential to provide non-invasive, high-throughput screening for cancers and other serious diseases via detection of protein biomarkers in blood or other accessible biologic samples. Unfortunately, this potential has largely been...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics