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Photocurrent modelling and experimental confirmation for meteoric smoke particle detectors on board atmospheric sounding rockets
Rostock Univ IAP, Leibniz Inst Atmospher Phys, Kuhlungsborn, Germany.;KTH Royal Inst Technol, Sch Elect Engn, Dept Space & Plasma Phys, Stockholm, Sweden..
Rostock Univ IAP, Leibniz Inst Atmospher Phys, Kuhlungsborn, Germany..
Rostock Univ IAP, Leibniz Inst Atmospher Phys, Kuhlungsborn, Germany..
Rostock Univ IAP, Leibniz Inst Atmospher Phys, Kuhlungsborn, Germany..
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2018 (English)In: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, ISSN 1867-1381, E-ISSN 1867-8548, Vol. 11, no 9, p. 5299-5314Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Characterising the photoelectron current induced by the Sun's UV radiation is crucial to ensure accurate daylight measurements from particle detectors. This article lays out the methodology used to address this problem in the case of the meteoric smoke particle detectors (MSPDs), developed by the Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Kuhlungsborn (IAP) and flown on board the PMWEs (Polar Mesosphere Winter Echoes) sounding rockets in April 2018. The methodology focuses on two complementary aspects: modelling and experimental measurements. A detailed model of the MSPD photocurrent was created based on the expected solar UV flux, the atmospheric UV absorption as a function of height by molecular oxygen and ozone, the photoelectric yield of the material coating the MSPD as a function of wavelength, the index of refraction of these materials as a function of wavelength and the angle of incidence of the illumination onto the MSPD. Due to its complex structure, composed of a central electrode shielded by two concentric grids, extensive ray-tracing calculations were conducted to obtain the incidence angles of the illumination on the central electrode, and this was done for various orientations of the MSPD in respect to the Sun. Results of the modelled photocurrent at different heights and for different materials, as well as for different orientations of the detector, are presented. As a pre-flight confirmation, the model was used to reproduce the experimental measurements conducted by Robertson et al. (2014) and agrees within an order of magnitude. An experimental setup for the calibration of the MSPD photocurrent is also presented. The photocurrent induced by the Lyman-alpha line from a deuterium lamp was recorded inside a vacuum chamber using a narrowband filter, while a UV-sensitive photodiode was used to monitor the UV flux. These measurements were compared with the model prediction, and also matched within an order of magnitude. Although precisely modelling the photocurrent is a challenging task, this article quantitatively improved the understanding of the photocurrent on the MSPD and discusses possible strategies to untangle the meteoric smoke particles (MSPs) current from the photocurrent recorded in-flight.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
COPERNICUS GESELLSCHAFT MBH , 2018. Vol. 11, no 9, p. 5299-5314
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Physical Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-235573DOI: 10.5194/amt-11-5299-2018ISI: 000445099800001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85053761117OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-235573DiVA, id: diva2:1252262
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QC 20181001

Available from: 2018-10-01 Created: 2018-10-01 Last updated: 2018-10-16Bibliographically approved

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