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Spacecraft charging analysis with the implicit particle-in-cell code iPic3D
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), High Performance Computing and Visualization (HPCViz).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0639-0639
2013 (English)In: Physics of Plasmas, ISSN 1070-664X, Vol. 20, no 10, 102902- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present the first results on the analysis of spacecraft charging with the implicit particle-in-cell code iPic3D, designed for running on massively parallel supercomputers. The numerical algorithm is presented, highlighting the implementation of the electrostatic solver and the immersed boundary algorithm; the latter which creates the possibility to handle complex spacecraft geometries. As a first step in the verification process, a comparison is made between the floating potential obtained with iPic3D and with Orbital Motion Limited theory for a spherical particle in a uniform stationary plasma. Second, the numerical model is verified for a CubeSat benchmark by comparing simulation results with those of PTetra for space environment conditions with increasing levels of complexity. In particular, we consider spacecraft charging from plasma particle collection, photoelectron and secondary electron emission. The influence of a background magnetic field on the floating potential profile near the spacecraft is also considered. Although the numerical approaches in iPic3D and PTetra are rather different, good agreement is found between the two models, raising the level of confidence in both codes to predict and evaluate the complex plasma environment around spacecraft.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 20, no 10, 102902- p.
Keyword [en]
Electrostatic solver, Numerical algorithms, Numerical approaches, Orbital motion limiteds, Particle in cell codes, Secondary electron emissions, Spacecraft charging analysis, Verification process
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Other Physics Topics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136510DOI: 10.1063/1.4826951ISI: 000326644100075ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84887224142OAI: diva2:677021
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 2633430 284461

QC 20131209

Available from: 2013-12-09 Created: 2013-12-05 Last updated: 2013-12-09Bibliographically approved

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Markidis, Stefano
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