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Numerical study of ionospheric response to perturbations and interaction with spacecraft instruments Open Access


Other title
Langmuir probe
Suprathermal Ion Imager
Ionospheric perturbations
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Imtiaz, Nadia
Supervisor and department
Richard Marchand (Physics)
Examining committee member and department
Richard Marchand (Physics)
Andrei Smolyakov (Physics), Saskatchewan
Carsten Krauss (Physics)
Kim Chow (Physics)
Frances Fenrich (Physics)
Department of Physics

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This PhD thesis presents numerical studies of the ionosphere dynamics and of the interaction between ionospheric plasma and spacecraft instruments. The main results of my research are the following: A first study presents a simple model to account for magnetic field perturbations in response to geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes. Following an earthquake, large neutral density and velocity perturbations reach altitudes of $ 150-350 $ km, where significant coupling between the neutral atmosphere and the ionosphere occurs. Photoionization and collisional friction between plasma and the neutral exosphere then results in a rapid variation in ionospheric plasma parameters. This in turn leads to the generation of two types of waves: shear Alfv'en and the compressional modes. Variations in the total electron content (TEC) are also computed for the ion acoustic mode and the compressional mode by considering density perturbations along and transverse to the magnetic field. The second part of my work considers the interaction between ionospheric plasma and spacecraft instruments under different plasma conditions. This is achieved by simulating space plasma interaction with two different particle sensors; namely, DEMETER's Segmented Langmuir probe (SLP) and JOULEII Suprathermal Ion imager (SII). The current characteristics of the SLP are computed with particle in cell (PIC) code, under different plasma conditions. The current collected by each segment varies with the orientation of the plasma flow velocity, the plasma composition and with the orientation of the magnetic field. For validation of the simulations, the computed characteristics are compared with DEMETER in situ measurements. Simulation results are found to be in good agreement with measurements. Finally, the impact of plasma flow on ion velocity distributions in the vicinity of the SII sensor aperture is numerically investigated. It is observed that the plasma flow modifies the electrostatic sheath and affects the velocity distributions of $NO^+$ and $O_2^+$ ions at the aperture of the SII sensor. The velocity distribution functions at the SII aperture are used to compute ion fluxes on the SII micro channel plate (MCP) and computed fluxes are compared with JOULEII measurements.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Imtiaz, N., and Marchand, R.,: Modeling of ionospheric magnetic field perturbations induced by earthquakes, Journal Geophys. Res., 117, 2012."Imtiaz, N., Marchand, R., and Lebreton, J.P.,: Modeling of current characteristics of segmented Langmuir probe on DEMETER, Phys. Plasmas, 20, 2013.

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