Advanced Detectors, Systems, & Nanoscience
Insights into How Solar Wind Interacts with Earth’s Magnetic Field
The Magnetosphere Ionosphere Coupling in the Alfvén Resonator (MICA) mission was launched from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska on February 19, 2012, as part of a NASA-funded study. The mission’s goal is to gather insights into how the solar wind interacts with Earth’s magnetic field, which can affect signals from global positioning system (GPS) satellites and other spacecraft.
MICA used several instruments, including the Southwest Research Institute’s low-energy electron-spectrometer (LEES). LEES was enabled by an MDL-developed delta-doped 1kx1k low-energy electron detector. Delta-doping improves the low-energy electron detection threshold by an order of magnitude and simplifies and improves instrument performance. It also removes the need for massive power supplies, allowing for a more compact instrument.
Scientists and students representing Cornell, Dartmouth College, Southwest Research Institute, JPL, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Oslo participated in the study.