Electron density and electron neutral collision frequency

in the ionosphere using plasma impedance
probe measurements
E. Spencer,
1
S. Patra,
1
T. Andriyas,
1
C. Swenson,
1
J. Ward,
2
and A. Barjatya
3
Received 20 December 2007; revised 14 April 2008; accepted 4 June 2008; published 5 September 2008.
[1] Swept Impedance Probe measurements in a sporadic E layer observed during the
Sudden Atomic Layer (SAL) sounding rocket mission are analyzed to obtain absolute
electron densities and electron neutral collision frequencies accurately. Three sets of upleg
and downleg impedance data are selected for the analysis. Initial estimates of the
plasma parameters are obtained through a least mean square fit of the measured impedance
data against the analytical impedance formula Z
B
( f ) of Balmain (1969). These initial
parameters are used as a starting point to drive a finite difference computational model of
an antenna immersed in a plasma called PF-FDTD. The parameters are then tuned until a
close fit is obtained between the measured impedance data and the numerical impedance
data calculated by the PF-FDTD simulation. The electron densities obtained from the
simulation were close to those obtained from the IRI 2001 model. The electron neutral
collision frequencies obtained from the more accurate PF-FDTD simulation were up to
20% lower than the values predicted by Balmain’s formula. The obtained collision
frequencies are also lower than the quiet time values predicted by Schunk and Nagy
(2000) when used in conjunction with neutral densities and electron temperature from the
Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter Radar Extended-90 model.
Citation: Spencer, E., S. Patra, T. Andriyas, C. Swenson, J. Ward, and A. Barjatya (2008), Electron density and electron neutral
collision frequency in the ionosphere using plasma impedance probe measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 113, A09305,
doi:10.1029/2007JA013004.
1. Introduction
[2] The determination of plasma parameters such as
electron density and electron neutral collision frequency
are important for ionospheric plasma characterization.
Electron densities and density gradients are used to deter-
mine ionospheric plasma properties while the electron
neutral collision frequency n
en
, particularly the ratio of the
electron neutral collision frequency to the electron cyclotron
frequency f
ce
, is used to determine the dominant ionospheric
conductivities and energy conversion processes at different
ionospheric latitudes [Heelis, 2004].
[3] Radio Frequency probe techniques for the determina-
tion of plasma parameters are attractive especially because
the RF response is not susceptible to spacecraft charging
problems at frequencies above the electron plasma frequency
[Oliver et al., 1973], where ion sheath effects are negligible.
Swept Impedance Probes in dipole configurations have
been used on sounding rocket missions [Barjatya and
Swenson, 2006] to obtain plasma electron densities in the
ionospheric E and F layers. Spherical impedance probes
have been used in laboratory settings [Blackwell et al.,
2005a, 2005b] under different bias conditions to evaluate
absolute electron density. Measurements of dipole antenna
impedance in a magnetized plasma with high electron
densities (10
7
–10
10
cm
À3
) and low collision frequencies
have also been reported recently by Blackwell et al. [2007].
[4] The Swept Impedance Probe (SIP) measures the small
signal RF impedance of an electrically short dipole antenna
immersed in a plasma by sweeping a sinusoidal voltage
over a range of frequencies and measuring the resulting
current at the terminals. The measured impedance as a
function of frequency is characterized by distinct resonant
regions that are related to the plasma frequency f
pe
, the
electron cyclotron frequency f
ce
, and the upper hybrid
frequency f
uh
. These resonant regions are approximately
analogous to the resonances of series and parallel RLC
circuits. The impedance of the antenna in a plasma is
normalized by dividing it with its impedance under free
space conditions, which is capacitive at wavelengths much
longer than the antenna dimensions.
[5] On the normalized impedance magnitude curve of a
dipole antenna immersed in a cold magnetoplasma, the
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 113, A09305, doi:10.1029/2007JA013004, 2008
Click
Here
for
Full
Article
1
Center for Space Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, Utah,
USA.
2
Computer and Electronics Engineering Technology Department,
Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, USA.
3
Physical Sciences Department, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University,
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
0148-0227/08/2007JA013004$09.00
A09305 1 of 9
series resonance that occurs near f
ce
gives the minimum
impedance magnitude, while the parallel resonance that
occurs near f
uh
gives a local maximum in the impedance
magnitude. The impedance curve for a particular combina-
tion of f
pe
, f
ce
and n
en
is unique. In a highly ionized, low
collisional plasma, the parallel resonance coincides with a
zero crossing in the impedance phase. The determination of
the zero crossing has been used in another device known as
the Plasma Frequency Probe (PFP) [Carlson, 2004]. The
PFP uses phase locked loop principles and circuitry to track
the zero phase point during sounding rocket missions. This
device usually makes use of the same antenna structure as
the SIP, so the measurement system alternates between the
two techniques periodically. In Figure 1 an unnormalized
impedance magnitude and phase curve is shown to illustrate
the resonances in the magnitude and the zero phase
corresponding to the parallel resonance.
[6] While the measurement technique is fairly well de-
veloped [Carlson et al., 2003; Rowland et al., 2006], the
interpretation of the impedance data poses challenging
problems. Identification of the resonant peaks and zero
phase location from the impedance curves makes it possible
to determine the ambient plasma electron density n
0e
fairly
well. However, the relative height and shape of the series
resonance troughs and parallel resonance peaks can be
interpreted to determine the electron neutral collision fre-
quency n
en
. The measured data is normally compared to
analytical formulas for the impedance obtained through
mathematical techniques. The most popular analytical the-
ory for a short dipole antenna immersed in a magnetized
plasma is that of Balmain [1964] and later Balmain [1969].
The analytical results published by Balmain and others
[Sawaya et al., 1978; Staras, 1964; Bishop and Baker,
1972] have been used to fit the measured impedance curves
with varying degrees of success. The major weakness of the
analytical theories are that they do not self-consistently
calculate the current distribution along the dipole. This
results in the analytical formulas shifting the location of
the resonant frequencies slightly, but more importantly,
over-estimating the electron neutral collision frequencies
[Rao and Bhat, 1969]. The formula of Balmain [1979] also
over-estimates the free space capacitance C
0
of the dipole
antenna.
[7] Nikitin and Swenson [2001] argue that the assumed
current distribution has very little effect on the general
shape of the impedance curve, but do not account for the
change in the current distribution near the resonant frequen-
cies [Ward et al., 2005]. Recently Ward [2006] has devel-
oped a full-wave Plasma-Fluid Finite-Difference Time
Domain electromagnetic code called PF-FDTD that simu-
lates the behavior of a short dipole antenna in a magnetized
plasma. The code incorporates the electron continuity and
momentum equations to model the plasma environment.
The PF-FDTD code computes the current distribution on the
antenna structure self-consistently, thus providing a more
accurate model for analysis of the measured impedance.
[8] In this work we obtain the absolute electron density
and electron neutral collision frequency through analysis of
impedance data from the Sudden Atomic Layer (SAL)
sounding rocket experiment at different altitudes. The
measured data is compared to the analytical formula
Z
B
( f ) of Balmain [1969] to obtain initial estimates of n
0e
,
the ambient magnetic field B
0
and n
en
. The initial estimates
are then used as starting values for the PF-FDTD simula-
tion. The values are then tuned to obtain three numerical fits
Figure 1. Unnormalized impedance magnitude and phase of a dipole antenna in a cold magnetoplasma
using the Balmain formula Z
B
( f ) showing the key resonance regions and phase transitions.
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
2 of 9
A09305
to the instrument impedance data that yield upper and lower
bounds on the derived parameters.
[9] In the next section we give some background of the
SAL mission. Next, we discuss the PF-FDTD simulation
and contrast its performance with the analytical formula
Z
B
( f ). In section 3 we describe the SIP instrument and the
selected data sets. Following this we present the results of
our analysis of the SAL impedance data with the PF-FDTD
simulation. In section 6 we compare our results to those of
the standard models. Finally we draw some conclusions and
motivate further work.
2. SAL Mission Background
[10] The Sudden Atomic Layer (SAL) sounding rocket
was launched from a temporary rocket range at Tortugeuro
Beach, Puerto Rico on the evening of 19 February 1998, at
20:09:02 LT. The overall science objective of the SAL
rocket mission was in-situ measurement of ionospheric
and atmospheric conditions during a sporadic sodium
(Na
s
) layer event [Gelinas, 1999]. These Na
s
layers are
known to be correlated to the sporadic E (E
s
) layers. The
rocket flew through a neutral background sodium layer
stretching from 80 km to 105 km altitude containing thin
Na
s
layers at 94 km and 97 km, with peak sodium densities
of 6000 cm
À3
and 4000 cm
À3
respectively.
[11] The payload instruments included a charged dust
detector to measure mesospheric dust over a mass range
of 1000–10,000 amu, a Langmuir probe operating as a Fast
Temperature Probe to measure the plasma density and
electron temperature, Plasma Impedance (PIP) and DC
probes to measure absolute and relative electron densities,
electric field booms to measure fields from DC to 5 kHz,
telescopes to measure sodium airglow, photometers and
lamps to measure sodium and potassium densities, and a
positive ion mass spectrometer. At the time of the rocket
launch, two ionization layers were present, an intermediate
layer at approximately 115 km and an E
s
layer at approx-
imately 92.5 km.
[12] We selected three SIP sweeps on the upleg and three
on the downleg between 92 to 93 km within the E
s
layer to
analyze. Although the electron density can be estimated
using Balmain’s formula for plasma frequencies at 100 kHz
and above, these sweeps were selected because the plasma
densities were high enough to produce prominent resonance
peaks in the impedance magnitude curves and avoid any
error in estimation of n
en
caused by insufficient coupling at
low densities [Carlson, 2004].
3. Plasma Impedance Probe Instrument and Data
[13] The Plasma Impedance Probe (PIP) in the SAL
payload operated in two modes, a Plasma Frequency Probe
mode (PFP), and the Swept Impedance Probe mode (SIP).
In the SIP mode, the instrument produces an impedance
curve by applying a known sinusoidal voltage across the
antenna terminals and sweeping across frequencies while
measuring the current into the antenna terminals. In the PFP
mode, the instrument attempts to lock onto the plasma upper
hybrid resonance frequency f
uh
where the current and the
voltage at the antenna terminals are in phase. When locked
the PFP provides a measure of the ambient electron density
n
0e
through the relations
f
2
pe
¼ f
2
uh
Àf
2
ce
ð1Þ
n
0e
¼
4p
2
m
e

0
e
2

f
2
pe
ð2Þ
where e is the electron charge, and m
e
is the mass of an
electron. The electron cyclotron frequency f
ce
is derived
from magnetometer readings or the IGRF (International
Geomagnetic Reference Field) model. The SIP operates as a
network analyzer, whereas the PFP is a phase locked loop
system that tracks the zero phase point associated with the
upper hybrid resonance frequency f
uh
. The SAL PIP was
designed to alternate between the two modes. It could either
track the parallel resonance associated with the upper hybrid
frequency f
uh
of the plasma or make sweeping impedance
measurements whenever the phase transition point was
undetectable because of very high collisional damping or
extremely low plasma densities. The PIP consisted of two
booms deployed 180 degrees apart with a 2-m tip-to-tip
length and a 2.54 cm diameter. The instrument used the last
52.5 cm of the booms as active elements.
[14] The SIP swept over 40 fixed frequencies starting
from 200 kHz to 12 MHz. The frequency resolution of each
sweep was 50 kHz from (0.9–1.7) MHz, 100 kHz from
(0.2–0.9) MHz and (1.7–2.5) MHz, 500 kHz from (2.5–
4.0) MHz, 1 MHz from (4.0–6.0) MHz, and 2 MHz from
(6.0–12.0) MHz. The impedance magnitude resolution was
approximately 12 W over a range of 200 kW. During the
SAL flight the instrument never switched to the parallel
resonance tracking mode (PFP mode) and the data set
consisted entirely of swept impedance magnitude measure-
ments, at the rate of 96 sweeps per second. The response of
the plasma surrounding the antenna as a function of fre-
quency was calculated as the ratio of the measured imped-
ance in the plasma regions above 88 km altitude to the
averaged impedance at altitudes below 75.5 km where the
ionization was negligible.
[15] The selected altitudes for analysis with the PF-FDTD
simulation are shown in the plasma frequency profile
plots of Figure 2 for the upleg and downleg of the flight.
The profiles in the figure are proportional to the electron
density and were generated following the technique used by
Barjatya and Swenson [2006]. Balmain’s impedance func-
tion Z
B
( f ) was used to find a coarse fit using least mean
squares technique against the measured impedance probe
data Z
m
( f ).
[16] Z
B
( f ) gives the antenna impedance as function of
five parameters, f
pe
, f
ce
, n
en
, the angle with respect to
magnetic field q, and the ion sheath size S. For the coarse
fit analysis, only f
pe
was allowed to vary. The other
parameters were estimated using standard reference models.
The values of f
ce
were obtained from the IGRF model. The
electron neutral collision frequencies n
en
were obtained by
using the electron momentum transfer collision frequency
formulas from Schunk and Nagy [2000] and neutral densi-
ties from the Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter Radar
Extended (MSISE)-90 model.
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
3 of 9
A09305
[17] At frequencies higher than the upper hybrid reso-
nance the effects of sheath resonance and angle to the
magnetic field do not play an important role [Barjatya
and Swenson, 2006], thus q and S were set to zero for the
coarse fit.
[18] From Figure 2 we see that the SAL rocket flew
through two distinct layers of high plasma density. The
modulation in the derived electron density at the rocket
spin rate of 1 Hz can also be observed. Three altitudes,
92.37 km, 92.41 km, and 92.44 km were chosen for the
upleg analysis. The selected altitudes are shown in the
figure as marks on the altitude profile enclosed by an
ellipse. At these altitudes the electron density increases with
increasing altitude as can be seen in Figure 2.
[19] For the downleg analysis, the three altitudes chosen
were 92.38 km, 92.41 km, and 92.44 km. These are also
shown in Figure 2 enclosed by an ellipse. An upward trend
of electron density with increasing altitude is also noted in
this case.
4. Plasma Impedance Probe Simulation
[20] A multi-species Plasma-Fluid Finite Difference Time
Domain Simulation of an antenna immersed in a plasma has
been developed at Utah State University under a NASA
Grant (NAG5-13026) [Ward, 2006]. The simulation solves
for the electromagnetic fields, fluid densities and fluid
velocities for each plasma species around a dipole antenna
self-consistently using an explicit leapfrog finite difference
time domain scheme originally developed by Yee [1966]
and later modified by others [Taflove and Hagness, 2005].
[21] The antenna is enclosed by a numerical bounding
box that provides retarded time absorbing boundary con-
ditions for the electromagnetic field. The electromagnetic
fields are numerically solved using the Maxwell curl rela-
tions, and each plasma species density n
s
and velocity u
s
throughout the computation domain is calculated using the
fluid continuity and momentum equations. Ambient density
gradients over the extent of the antenna are neglected. The
fluid equations are linearized to the first order, to solve only
for the electromagnetic and plasma wave disturbances.
[22] The software is capable of simulating the behavior of
a multi-species plasma, but here the ions and neutrals have
been assumed to be stationary. The multi-fluid equations are
particularized to solve only for the perturbed electron
density and electron momentum in the computation domain.
The simulation includes the pressure gradient Àrp
e
=
Àr(n
e
k
b
T
e
), but for ionospheric plasmas in typical rocket
missions the cold plasma approximation can be used, so we
set T
e
= 0. Here k
b
is the Boltzmann’s constant.
[23] The fluid momentum and continuity equations that
are analyzed in the PF-FDTD simulation are given by,
@n
e
@t
¼ Àn
0e
rÁ u
e
ð Þ ð3Þ
m
e
n
0e
@u
e
@t
¼ n
0e
q
e
E þu
e
ÂB
0
ð Þ Àn
0e
m
e
n
en
u
e
ð4Þ
where, n
0e
is the background density, n
e
is the first-order
density variation, u
e
is the first-order velocity perturbation,
and n
en
is the electron neutral collision frequency. The
ambient magnetic field strength is given by B
0
. These two
equations for the electron species fluid are supplemented by
the Maxwell equations,
rÂE ¼ À
@B
@t
ð5Þ
rÂB ¼
0
m
0
@E
@t
þm
0
J ð6Þ
where the plasma current density is given by J = q
e
n
0e
u
e
.
[24] The voltage at the antenna terminals is prescribed as
the input to the simulation. A Gaussian derivative voltage
pulse of sufficient spectral bandwidth is fed into the antenna
structure. The resulting current at the feed point of the
antenna is obtained from the simulation. The impedance of
the antenna is then calculated by dividing the Fourier
Transform of the Gaussian derivative voltage input by the
Fourier Transform of the current through the antenna
terminals. The PF-FDTD simulation is performed long
enough so that at least 5 cycles of the lowest frequency of
interest is captured.
[25] For the analysis performed here, the ambient electron
density n
0e
, electron neutral collision frequency n
en
, and
electron cyclotron frequency f
ce
are considered to be vari-
able input parameters into the simulation. For a fixed set
of parameters, the resulting impedance magnitude for the
PF-FDTD simulation is shown in Figure 3 compared to the
impedance magnitude of Balmain Z
B
( f ). The minimum
impedance is associated with the electron cyclotron reso-
nance frequency f
ce
and is referred to as the series reso-
nance. At frequencies higher than f
ce
the maximum
impedance observed is associated with the upper hybrid
resonant frequency f
uh
and is called the parallel resonance.
Figure 2. Upleg and downleg plasma frequency profiles
obtained through a least square fit of Z
B
against Z
m
. The
profiles are proportional to electron density through (2).
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
4 of 9
A09305
[26] We observe that the resonance positions predicted by
the analytical formula Z
B
( f ) are slightly shifted from that of
the PF-FDTD simulation. This difference does not produce
serious errors in the values of the parameters f
pe
and f
ce
.
However, the PF-FDTD impedance curve Z
sim
( f ) predicts a
more damped response for the same value of n
en
. This
difference makes the PF-FDTD a much more accurate tool
to obtain the electron neutral collision frequency. For a
match against data, PF-FDTD values of n
en
are at least 15–
20% lower than the values obtained using the analytical
formula.
5. Analysis of Impedance Data
[27] The analysis of the impedance data with the PF-
FDTD simulation requires that initial estimates for the
plasma parameters be determined. These initial parameters
f
pe
, f
ce
and n
en
were determined by comparing the imped-
ance magnitude data with the analytical formula Z
B
( f )
using a least square fit algorithm weighted by the confi-
dence level in the instrument measurement over different
frequency ranges.
[28] With the starting parameters obtained from Z
B
( f ),
we performed simulation runs to compare the impedance
magnitude curves produced by the PF-FDTD simulation
Z
sim
( f ) against the rocket impedance magnitude data
Z
m
( f ). The values were tuned until three alternative Z
sim
( f )
fits were obtained to the measured impedance Z
m
( f ). The
three PF-FDTD matched results for each altitude, PF-1, PF-2
and PF-3, are chosen based on confidence in the measured
impedance above the upper hybrid resonance frequency.
[29] PF-1 is chosen so that it approximates the lower
envelope of the impedance magnitude data slope at fre-
quencies higher than the upper hybrid resonance f
uh
. PF-2
and PF-3 are chosen so that they approximate the median
and the upper envelopes of the measured impedance slope
at frequencies higher than the f
uh
. This method for selection
of the impedance curves is repeated for all upleg and
downleg impedance data. This was done in order to get
reasonable parameter values considering the uncertainty in
the impedance data. The measured impedance curve is most
reliable above f
ce
. However, the data has some oscillation as
the impedance magnitude curve decays after f
uh
. Through
our selection of upper, median and lower envelopes, we
provide error bounds for values of the plasma parameters.
[30] For all the measurements the dipole was within the
payload wake. The current was measured on only one arm
of the dipole, which was always in a reasonably homoge-
neous plasma. Barjatya and Swenson [2006] have shown
via a DSMC simulation that on the upleg the density around
the SIP will see a minimum reduction by a factor of 1.25.
However, the DSMC simulation includes only the neutral
particles and a more substantive analysis of the wake
structure involving the charged particle effects will be
necessary in order to precisely account for the wake effects.
5.1. Upleg Analysis
[31] For the upleg, we selected three altitudes in the E
s
layer. The three selected heights are 92.37 km, 92.41 km,
and 92.44 km. The three altitudes are chosen to be at
approximately the same height as those on the downleg.
The horizontal rocket velocity was about 350 m/s and the
distance between the selected locations is approximately
40 km. The SAL payload was at an angle of 68° with
respect to the Earth’s magnetic field on the upleg at the
height of 92.5 km [Gelinas, 1999].
[32] The dipole was oriented perpendicular to the payload
but the spin phase of the rocket could not be reliably
determined. Since the angle of the dipole with respect to
the magnetic field could vary between 22° to 90° on the
upleg, all the simulation runs were done with an elevation
angle (q
el
) equal to 22°, but the median envelope PF-2
curves were also matched using 90° elevation. This gives us
the maximum spread of collision frequency values with the
median envelope as a reference.
[33] At the altitude of 92.37 km, the PF-FDTD simulation
best fits at elevation angle 22° are shown in Figure 4. The
parameter values obtained are shown in Table 1,which also
Figure 3. Simulated and theoretical plots of impedance
magnitude of a dipole antenna of length of 1.04 m and
diameter of 2.54 cm oriented along the magnetic field.
Sheath size is assumed to be zero.
Figure 4. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to
SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.37 km on the
upleg.
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
5 of 9
A09305
shows plasma parameters obtained from Balmain’s theory.
The plasma parameters obtained from Balmain’s model are
obtained under the same matching condition as PF-2. We
see that the plasma electron density n
0e
increases from lower
to upper envelopes, with the median envelope giving n
0e
of
1658 cm
À3
, which is between the lower and upper envelope
n
0e
values. The electron neutral collision frequency at this
height is between 90 kHz to 120 kHz. The collision
frequency values obtained from Balmain’s theory are much
higher than the values of PF-2.
[34] For the other two altitudes, we observe similar trends.
The lowest plasma electron density (1476 cm
À3
) was
obtained at altitude 92.37 km and the highest (2418 cm
À3
)
at altitude 92.44 km. The impedance curves at 92.41 km
and 92.44 km altitudes are shown in Figures 5 and 6
respectively.
[35] The cyclotron resonance troughs indicate a higher
ambient magnetic field than that predicted by IGRF model.
The IGRF model predicts a magnetic field of 38,706 nT
which corresponds to a cyclotron frequency f
ce
of 1.06 MHz.
If this value is used in Z
B
( f ) or the PF-FDTD analysis
the resultant impedance curves cannot be matched to the
measured data. Our analysis yields much higher values of
ambient magnetic field strength between 46000 and
47000 nT. This may be due to an additional magnetic
field from the Mass Spectrometer which was present on
the payload.
[36] Over all three upleg altitudes, the collision frequen-
cies ranged from 90 kHz (lowest value) at 92.38 km altitude
to 140 kHz (highest value) at 92.41 km altitude. Using
Balmain’s theory for comparison against PF-2 yielded
collision frequencies between 150 kHz and 170 kHz, while
PF-2 values were between 101 kHz and 118 kHz.
5.2. Downleg Analysis
[37] The angle of the dipole with respect to the magnetic
field varies between 72° to 90° on the downleg. All the
simulation runs were done with an elevation angle (q
el
) equal
to 72°, but the median envelope PF-2 curves were also
matched using 90° elevation. This again gives us the maxi-
mum spread of collision frequency values with the PF-2
curve as a reference.
[38] The plasma parameters obtained with elevation angle
72° are shown in Table 2,which also shows plasma param-
Table 1. Plasma Parameters Obtained by Comparing SAL
Impedance Data on the Upleg at an Elevation Angle q
el
22° Against
PF-FDTD Simulations and Balmain’s Theory
Parameter PF-1 PF-2 PF-3 Balmain
Height = 92.37 km, Upleg
n
en
(MHz) 0.09 0.10 0.12 0.15
n
oe
(/cc) 1476 1658 1917 1552
B (nT) 46,355 46,355 46,852 46,374
Height = 92.41 km, Upleg
n
en
(MHz) 0.10 0.11 0.14 0.17
n
oe
(/cc) 1658 1917 2343 1725
B (nT) 46,604 46,852 47,100 46,892
Height = 92.44 km, Upleg
n
en
(MHz) 0.11 0.12 0.14 0.17
n
oe
(/cc) 1851 2125 2418 1914
B (nT) 46,604 46,604 47,352 46,666
Figure 5. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to
SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.41 km on the
upleg.
Figure 6. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to
SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.44 km on the
upleg.
Table 2. Plasma Parameters Obtained by Comparing SAL
Impedance Data on the Downleg at an Elevation Angle q
el
72°
Against PF-FDTD Simulations and Balmain’s Theory
Parameter PF-1 PF-2 PF-3 Balmain
Height = 92.38 km, Downleg
n
en
(MHz) 0.07 0.10 0.09 0.16
n
oe
(/cc) 944 1249 1476 1140
B (nT) 46,355 46,103 46,355 46,556
Height = 92.41 km, Downleg
n
en
(MHz) 0.11 0.14 0.16 0.18
n
oe
(/cc) 1596 1986 2343 1430
B (nT) 46,852 46,355 46,604 46,764
Height = 92.44 km, Downleg
n
en
(MHz) 0.11 0.12 0.13 0.17
n
oe
(/cc) 2270 2494 2729 1730
B (nT) 46,604 47,352 47,849 47,615
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
6 of 9
A09305
eters obtained from Balmain’s theory. We note that the
ambient magnetic field strengths obtained on the downleg
were again much higher than predicted by the IGRF model.
[39] For the downleg altitude of 92.38 km, 92.41 km and
92.44 km the PF-FDTD simulation results are shown in
Figures 7, 8 and 9. As was observed on the upleg, the
plasma electron density n
0e
increases from lower to
upper envelopes, with the median envelope giving n
0e
of
1249 cm
À3
, which is between the lower and upper envelope
n
0e
values. The electron neutral collision frequency at this
height is between 68 kHz to 100 kHz. Higher values of
collision frequency are again predicted by Balmain’s model
when compared with PF-2.
[40] The lowest plasma electron density of 944 cm
À3
was obtained at altitude 92.38 km and the highest value
2729 cm
À3
at altitude 92.45 km. Collision frequencies
varied from a low of 70 kHz at 92.38 km to a high of
160 kHz at 92.41 km. PF-2 collision frequency values
varied between 100 kHz and 138 kHz, Balmain’s theory in
comparison yielded collision frequencies between 156 kHz
and 180 kHz.
6. Discussion
[41] For a cold collisional fluid plasma the flow of the
electrons perpendicular to the magnetic field is given by
Cowley [2000],
u
e?
¼
1
1 þ
nen
2pfce

2
E ÂB
B
2
À
n
en
2pf
ce
E
?
B
¸
ð7Þ
[42] Under the same assumptions the field-perpendicular
ion flow will have a similar expression. If the ambient
density of ions (n
0i
) is assumed equal to n
0e
then the current
density perpendicular to the magnetic field is given by,
j
?
¼ n
0e
e u
i?
Àu
e?
ð Þ
¼ s
p
E þs
H
B ÂE
ð8Þ
Figure 7. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to
SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.38 km on the
downleg.
Figure 8. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to
SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.41 km on the
downleg.
Figure 9. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to
SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.45 km on the
downleg.
Figure 10. Collision frequencies inferred from PF-FDTD
best fits to SAL PIP data plotted along with the theoretical
values obtained from Schunk and Nagy [2000].
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
7 of 9
A09305
where u
i?
is the field-perpendicular ion flow velocity, s
p
and s
H
are the Pederson and Hall conductivity. The ratio
n
en
/f
ce
is expected to remain small throughout the whole
region of the ionosphere where appreciable plasma densities
are present (above $90 km). Thus electrons should E Â B
drift at all ionospheric altitudes and contribute only to the
Hall current [Cowley, 2000]. Further, electron drift along
neutral winds is negligible at altitudes between 80–100 km
[Heelis, 2004].
[43] Electron neutral collisions at 90–100 km are domi-
nated by momentum transfer mechanisms [Schunk and
Nagy, 2000]. At an altitude of around 92–95 km the
momentum transfer collision frequencies calculated from
the Chapman-Cowling collision integral [Chapman and
Cowling, 1970] depend strongly on the density of molecular
nitrogen (N
2
) and oxygen (O
2
).
[44] The electron-oxygen and electron-nitrogen collision
frequencies with changing density and electron temperature
are given by Schunk and Nagy [2000],
n
N2
¼ 2:33 Â10
À11
n
N2
1 À1:21 Â10
À4
T
e

T
e
ð9Þ
n
O2
¼ 1:82 Â10
À10
n
O2
1 þ3:6 Â10
À2
ffiffiffiffiffi
T
e

ffiffiffiffiffi
T
e

ð10Þ
where n
N
2
and n
O
2
are the molecular nitrogen and oxygen
densities respectively.
[45] We obtain the neutral densities and the electron
temperature profiles from the MSISE-90 model, the inputs
being the day, time, year, latitude and longitude of the SAL
mission. The MSISE values are then used in equations (9)
and (10) to produce an altitude profile for the collision
frequencies. To obtain the effective electron neutral colli-
sion frequency with altitude, we calculate the weighted
average of the two collision frequency profiles according
to the expression,
n
avg
¼
n
N2
n
N2
þn
O2
n
O2
n
N2
þn
O2
ð11Þ
[46] When the densities of the neutral species are almost
equal, the weighted average drops down to the arithmetic
mean of the two collision frequencies [Chau and Kudeki,
2006]. The altitude profiles generated for electron-nitrogen,
electron-oxygen and weighted average collision frequencies
are shown in Figure 10. The collision frequency values
obtained from the median envelopes (PF-2) are also shown
in Figure 10. In addition to the values obtained for the upleg
and downleg angles of 22 and 72 degrees, we also show the
values obtained with the maximum 90 degree elevation
between the dipole and ambient magnetic field. We observe
that the collision frequencies using the median envelope (22
and 90 degrees upleg, 72 and 90 degrees downleg) are all
within 10 percent of each other at each altitude.
[47] The highest and lowest values obtained from
PF-FDTD analysis for the ratio of n
en
to f
ce
(1.06 MHz,
obtained from IGRF) are 0.066 and 0.1509 respectively.
These numbers are consistent with the assumption that
electrons contribute only to the Hall current. We also note
that the electron neutral collision frequencies obtained
from the PF-FDTD simulation are lower than the collision
frequencies derived from the quiet time MSISE-90 neutral
densities.
7. Conclusions and Future Work
[48] We found that a Swept Impedance Probe can be used
to measure the electron neutral collision frequency and
electron density accurately in the vicinity of the probe.
The PF-FDTD simulation is a much more powerful tool to
estimate the electron fluid parameters than the analytical
formulas of Balmain. This is especially true in the case of
values of n
en
. The electron neutral collision frequency
values obtained were more than 20% lower than the values
predicted by Balmain’s theory.
[49] Since the dipole was within the wake structure of the
payload when the measurements were made, a correction
factor needs to be determined to obtain the true values of n
0e
and n
en
far away from the payload. In order to do this a
more substantive analysis of the wake structure involving
the charged particle effects will be necessary. We are
currently researching the available techniques to perform
this analysis.
[50] Simulation time limits the usage of PF-FDTD to
analyzing relatively small data sets. Future work will
continue to reduce the simulation time by efficient utiliza-
tion of memory allocation and paralleling the finite differ-
ence calculations. This will allow the simulation to be used
for analyzing the impedance over the entire flight path.
[51] Acknowledgments. The authors wish to thank Wayne G.
Sanderson from the Space Dynamics laboratory for many helpful
discussions on the working of the SIP instrument.
[52] Zuyin Pu thanks Lynette Gelinas and another reviewer for their
assistance in evaluating this paper.
References
Balmain, K. (1964), The impedance of a short dipole antenna in a magne-
toplasma, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 12(5), 605–617.
Balmain, K. (1969), Dipole admittance for magnetoplasma diagnostics,
IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 17(3), 389–392.
Balmain, K. (1979), The properties of antennas in plasmas, Ann. Telecom-
mun., 34, 273–283.
Barjatya, A., and C. Swenson (2006), Observation of triboelectric charging
effects on Langmuir-type probes in dusty plasma, J. Geophys. Res., 111,
A10302, doi:10.1029/2006JA011806.
Bishop, R., and K. Baker (1972), Electron temperature and density deter-
mination from RF impedance probe measurements in the lower iono-
sphere, Planet. Space Sci., 20, 997–1013.
Blackwell, D., D. Walker, S. Messer, and W. Amatucci (2005a), Character-
istics of the plasma impedance probe with constant bias, Phys. Plasmas,
12(093510).
Blackwell, D. D., D. N. Walker, and W. E. Amatucci (2005b), Measurement
of absolute electron density with a plasma impedance probe, Rev. Sci.
Instrum., 76(023503).
Blackwell, D., D. Walker, S. Messer, and W. Amatucci (2007), Antenna
impedance measurements in a magnetized plasma. II: Dipole antenna,
Phys. Plasmas, 14(092106).
Carlson, C. G. (2004), Next generation plasma frequency probe instrumen-
tation technique, Master’s thesis, Utah State Univ., Logan, Utah.
Carlson, C. G., C. M. Swenson, and C. Fish (2003), Next generation plasma
impedance probe instrumentation technique, AGU Fall Meeting,
Abstracts SA12B-1106.
Chapman, S., and T. G. Cowling (1970), The Mathematical Theory of
Nonuniform Gases, Cambridge Univ. Press, New York.
Chau, J. L., and E. Kudeki (2006), First e- and d-region incoherent scatter
spectra observed over Jicamarca, Ann. Geophys., 24, 1295–1303.
Cowley, S. W. H. (2000), TUTORIAL: Magnetosphere-ionosphere interac-
tions: A tutorial review, in Magnetospheric Current Systems, Geophys.
Monogr. 118, pp. 91+, AGU, Washington, D. C.
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
8 of 9
A09305
Gelinas, L. J. (1999), An in-situ measurement of charged mesospheric dust
during a sporadic a sporadic atom layer event, Ph.D. thesis, Univ. of New
Hampshire, Durham, N. H.
Heelis, R. (2004), Electrodynamics in the low and middle latitude iono-
sphere: A tutorial, J. Atmos. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 66, 825–838.
Nikitin, P., and C. Swenson (2001), Impedance of a short dipole antenna in
a cold plasma, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 49(10), 1377–1381.
Oliver, B., R. Clements, and P. Smy (1973), Experimental investigation of
the low-frequency capacitive response of a plasma sheath, J. Appl. Phys.,
44, 4511–4517.
Rao, B. R., and B. Bhat (1969), Experimental investigation on the impe-
dance behavior of a short, cylindrical antenna in a lossy magnetoplasma,
NASA Tech. Rep. Server, NASA-CR-107453, SR-2, Harvard Univ.,
Cambridge, Mass.
Rowland, D. E., R. F. Pfaff, P. Uribe, and J. Burchill (2006), Plasma
impedance spectrum analyzer (PISA): An advanced impedance probe
for measuring plasma density and other parameters, AGU Fall Meeting,
Abstracts SM12A-07, San Francisco.
Sawaya, K., T. Ishizone, and Y. Mushiake (1978), Measurement of the
impedance of a linear antenna in a magnetoplasma, Radio Sci., 13(1),
21–29.
Schunk, R. W., and A. F. Nagy (2000), Ionospheres, Physics, Plasma
Physics, and Chemisty, Cambridge Atmospheric and Space Science
Series, Cambridge Univ. Press, New York.
Staras, H. (1964), The impedance of an electric dipole in a magneto-ionic
medium, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 12, 695–702.
Taflove, A., and S. Hagness (2005), Computational Electrodynamics: The
Finite-Difference Time-Domain Method, Artech House, London, U.K.
Ward, J. (2006), The numerical modelling of an antenna in plasma, Ph.D.
thesis, Utah State University, Logan, Utah.
Ward, J., C. Swenson, and C. Furse (2005), The impedance of a short dipole
antenna in a magnetized plasma via a finite difference time domain
model, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 53(8), 2711–2718.
Yee, (1966), Numerical solution of initial boundary value problems invol-
ving Maxwell’s equations in isotropic media, IEEE Trans. Antennas Pro-
pag., 14(3), 302–307.
ÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀ
T. Andriyas, S. Patra, E. Spencer, and C. Swenson, Center for Space
Engineering, 4170 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA. (espencer@
engineering.usu.edu)
A. Barjatya, Physical Sciences Department, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University, 600 South Clyde Morris Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32114,
USA.
J. Ward, Computer and Electronics Engineering Technology, Weber State
University, 1703 University Circle, Ogden, UT 84408-1703, USA.
A09305 SPENCER ET AL.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY
9 of 9
A09305

The formula of Balmain [1979] also over-estimates the free space capacitance C0 of the dipole antenna. while the parallel resonance that occurs near fuh gives a local maximum in the impedance magnitude. so the measurement system alternates between the two techniques periodically. 1978. The PFP uses phase locked loop principles and circuitry to track the zero phase point during sounding rocket missions. the parallel resonance coincides with a zero crossing in the impedance phase. low collisional plasma.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 Figure 1. Rowland et al. [6] While the measurement technique is fairly well developed [Carlson et al.A09305 SPENCER ET AL. The initial estimates are then used as starting values for the PF-FDTD simulation.. 1972] have been used to fit the measured impedance curves with varying degrees of success. thus providing a more accurate model for analysis of the measured impedance. 2006]. The PF-FDTD code computes the current distribution on the antenna structure self-consistently. The values are then tuned to obtain three numerical fits 2 of 9 . fce and n en is unique. over-estimating the electron neutral collision frequencies [Rao and Bhat.. the relative height and shape of the series resonance troughs and parallel resonance peaks can be interpreted to determine the electron neutral collision frequency n en. the interpretation of the impedance data poses challenging problems. [7] Nikitin and Swenson [2001] argue that the assumed current distribution has very little effect on the general shape of the impedance curve. This device usually makes use of the same antenna structure as the SIP... In a highly ionized. 2004]. Bishop and Baker. series resonance that occurs near fce gives the minimum impedance magnitude. The code incorporates the electron continuity and momentum equations to model the plasma environment. Staras. However. 1964. Unnormalized impedance magnitude and phase of a dipole antenna in a cold magnetoplasma using the Balmain formula ZB( f ) showing the key resonance regions and phase transitions. The determination of the zero crossing has been used in another device known as the Plasma Frequency Probe (PFP) [Carlson. The analytical results published by Balmain and others [Sawaya et al. The most popular analytical theory for a short dipole antenna immersed in a magnetized plasma is that of Balmain [1964] and later Balmain [1969]. 2005]. [8] In this work we obtain the absolute electron density and electron neutral collision frequency through analysis of impedance data from the Sudden Atomic Layer (SAL) sounding rocket experiment at different altitudes. The impedance curve for a particular combination of fpe. The major weakness of the analytical theories are that they do not self-consistently calculate the current distribution along the dipole. This results in the analytical formulas shifting the location of the resonant frequencies slightly. 2003. 1969]. the ambient magnetic field B0 and n en. In Figure 1 an unnormalized impedance magnitude and phase curve is shown to illustrate the resonances in the magnitude and the zero phase corresponding to the parallel resonance. The measured data is normally compared to analytical formulas for the impedance obtained through mathematical techniques. Identification of the resonant peaks and zero phase location from the impedance curves makes it possible to determine the ambient plasma electron density n0e fairly well. Recently Ward [2006] has developed a full-wave Plasma-Fluid Finite-Difference Time Domain electromagnetic code called PF-FDTD that simulates the behavior of a short dipole antenna in a magnetized plasma. but more importantly. but do not account for the change in the current distribution near the resonant frequencies [Ward et al. The measured data is compared to the analytical formula ZB( f ) of Balmain [1969] to obtain initial estimates of n0e.

Next.7) MHz. The impedance magnitude resolution was approximately 12 W over a range of 200 kW. Plasma Impedance Probe Instrument and Data [13] The Plasma Impedance Probe (PIP) in the SAL payload operated in two modes. 3 of 9 . [15] The selected altitudes for analysis with the PF-FDTD simulation are shown in the plasma frequency profile plots of Figure 2 for the upleg and downleg of the flight.2 – 0. In the SIP mode. In the PFP mode. we discuss the PF-FDTD simulation and contrast its performance with the analytical formula ZB( f ). The values of fce were obtained from the IGRF model.0) MHz. whereas the PFP is a phase locked loop system that tracks the zero phase point associated with the upper hybrid resonance frequency fuh. [11] The payload instruments included a charged dust detector to measure mesospheric dust over a mass range of 1000– 10. SAL Mission Background [10] The Sudden Atomic Layer (SAL) sounding rocket was launched from a temporary rocket range at Tortugeuro Beach. [14] The SIP swept over 40 fixed frequencies starting from 200 kHz to 12 MHz. the instrument produces an impedance curve by applying a known sinusoidal voltage across the antenna terminals and sweeping across frequencies while measuring the current into the antenna terminals. at 20:09:02 LT. two ionization layers were present. 100 kHz from (0.5 km. Balmain’s impedance function ZB( f ) was used to find a coarse fit using least mean squares technique against the measured impedance probe data Zm( f ). and me is the mass of an electron. fpe. a Langmuir probe operating as a Fast Temperature Probe to measure the plasma density and electron temperature. [16] ZB( f ) gives the antenna impedance as function of five parameters. 1999]. with peak sodium densities of 6000 cmÀ3 and 4000 cmÀ3 respectively.A09305 SPENCER ET AL. The instrument used the last 52. 3. The frequency resolution of each sweep was 50 kHz from (0.0) MHz. and a positive ion mass spectrometer. Plasma Impedance (PIP) and DC probes to measure absolute and relative electron densities. the instrument attempts to lock onto the plasma upper hybrid resonance frequency fuh where the current and the voltage at the antenna terminals are in phase. a Plasma Frequency Probe mode (PFP). an intermediate layer at approximately 115 km and an Es layer at approximately 92. [12] We selected three SIP sweeps on the upleg and three on the downleg between 92 to 93 km within the Es layer to analyze.7 – 2. In section 6 we compare our results to those of the standard models. n en. Finally we draw some conclusions and motivate further work. the angle with respect to magnetic field q. It could either track the parallel resonance associated with the upper hybrid frequency fuh of the plasma or make sweeping impedance measurements whenever the phase transition point was undetectable because of very high collisional damping or extremely low plasma densities. The rocket flew through a neutral background sodium layer stretching from 80 km to 105 km altitude containing thin Nas layers at 94 km and 97 km. Puerto Rico on the evening of 19 February 1998. telescopes to measure sodium airglow. 500 kHz from (2. these sweeps were selected because the plasma densities were high enough to produce prominent resonance peaks in the impedance magnitude curves and avoid any error in estimation of n en caused by insufficient coupling at low densities [Carlson. and the Swept Impedance Probe mode (SIP).0 – 6.5 cm of the booms as active elements. and the ion sheath size S.5 km where the ionization was negligible. electric field booms to measure fields from DC to 5 kHz. the PFP provides a measure of the ambient electron density n0e through the relations 2 2 2 fpe ¼ fuh À fce ð1Þ n0e ¼  2  4p me 0 2 fpe e2 ð2Þ 2. Although the electron density can be estimated using Balmain’s formula for plasma frequencies at 100 kHz and above. 1 MHz from (4. In section 3 we describe the SIP instrument and the selected data sets. The electron neutral collision frequencies n en were obtained by using the electron momentum transfer collision frequency formulas from Schunk and Nagy [2000] and neutral densities from the Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter Radar Extended (MSISE)-90 model. and 2 MHz from (6.54 cm diameter.9) MHz and (1. The overall science objective of the SAL rocket mission was in-situ measurement of ionospheric and atmospheric conditions during a sporadic sodium (Nas) layer event [Gelinas. The electron cyclotron frequency fce is derived from magnetometer readings or the IGRF (International Geomagnetic Reference Field) model. When locked where e is the electron charge. The profiles in the figure are proportional to the electron density and were generated following the technique used by Barjatya and Swenson [2006]. The SIP operates as a network analyzer.5) MHz. only fpe was allowed to vary. [9] In the next section we give some background of the SAL mission. These Nas layers are known to be correlated to the sporadic E (Es) layers.000 amu. During the SAL flight the instrument never switched to the parallel resonance tracking mode (PFP mode) and the data set consisted entirely of swept impedance magnitude measurements. 2004]. At the time of the rocket launch.0 – 12.0) MHz. The response of the plasma surrounding the antenna as a function of frequency was calculated as the ratio of the measured impedance in the plasma regions above 88 km altitude to the averaged impedance at altitudes below 75. Following this we present the results of our analysis of the SAL impedance data with the PF-FDTD simulation. at the rate of 96 sweeps per second. fce.9 – 1. For the coarse fit analysis.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 to the instrument impedance data that yield upper and lower bounds on the derived parameters. The other parameters were estimated using standard reference models. photometers and lamps to measure sodium and potassium densities.5 – 4. The SAL PIP was designed to alternate between the two modes. The PIP consisted of two booms deployed 180 degrees apart with a 2-m tip-to-tip length and a 2.

ue is the first-order velocity perturbation. The multi-fluid equations are particularized to solve only for the perturbed electron density and electron momentum in the computation domain. The simulation includes the pressure gradient Àrpe = Àr(nekbTe). [25] For the analysis performed here. the three altitudes chosen were 92. These are also shown in Figure 2 enclosed by an ellipse. ne is the first-order density variation. fluid densities and fluid velocities for each plasma species around a dipole antenna self-consistently using an explicit leapfrog finite difference time domain scheme originally developed by Yee [1966] and later modified by others [Taflove and Hagness. and n en is the electron neutral collision frequency.44 km. n0e is the background density. @ne ¼ Àn0e ðr Á ue Þ @t ð3Þ Figure 2. [23] The fluid momentum and continuity equations that are analyzed in the PF-FDTD simulation are given by. Three altitudes.44 km were chosen for the upleg analysis. me n0e @ue ¼ n0e qe ðE þ ue  B0 Þ À n0e me n en ue @t ð4Þ [17] At frequencies higher than the upper hybrid resonance the effects of sheath resonance and angle to the magnetic field do not play an important role [Barjatya and Swenson. to solve only for the electromagnetic and plasma wave disturbances. The impedance of the antenna is then calculated by dividing the Fourier Transform of the Gaussian derivative voltage input by the Fourier Transform of the current through the antenna terminals. Plasma Impedance Probe Simulation [20] A multi-species Plasma-Fluid Finite Difference Time Domain Simulation of an antenna immersed in a plasma has been developed at Utah State University under a NASA Grant (NAG5-13026) [Ward. thus q and S were set to zero for the coarse fit.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 fluid continuity and momentum equations. 2006]. and 92. The fluid equations are linearized to the first order. The selected altitudes are shown in the figure as marks on the altitude profile enclosed by an ellipse. The electromagnetic fields are numerically solved using the Maxwell curl relations. Here kb is the Boltzmann’s constant. [19] For the downleg analysis. but here the ions and neutrals have been assumed to be stationary. 2005]. electron neutral collision frequency n en. The ambient magnetic field strength is given by B0. and 92. the ambient electron density n0e. where. 92. the resulting impedance magnitude for the PF-FDTD simulation is shown in Figure 3 compared to the impedance magnitude of Balmain ZB( f ). and each plasma species density ns and velocity us throughout the computation domain is calculated using the where the plasma current density is given by J = qe n0eue.37 km. A Gaussian derivative voltage pulse of sufficient spectral bandwidth is fed into the antenna structure. 92. 4 of 9 . but for ionospheric plasmas in typical rocket missions the cold plasma approximation can be used. [18] From Figure 2 we see that the SAL rocket flew through two distinct layers of high plasma density. The PF-FDTD simulation is performed long enough so that at least 5 cycles of the lowest frequency of interest is captured. 2006]. [24] The voltage at the antenna terminals is prescribed as the input to the simulation.41 km. The simulation solves for the electromagnetic fields. Ambient density gradients over the extent of the antenna are neglected.41 km. Upleg and downleg plasma frequency profiles obtained through a least square fit of ZB against Zm. An upward trend of electron density with increasing altitude is also noted in this case. These two equations for the electron species fluid are supplemented by the Maxwell equations. The minimum impedance is associated with the electron cyclotron resonance frequency fce and is referred to as the series resonance.38 km. 92.A09305 SPENCER ET AL. [22] The software is capable of simulating the behavior of a multi-species plasma. The modulation in the derived electron density at the rocket spin rate of 1 Hz can also be observed. The profiles are proportional to electron density through (2). so we set Te = 0. At frequencies higher than f ce the maximum impedance observed is associated with the upper hybrid resonant frequency fuh and is called the parallel resonance. and electron cyclotron frequency fce are considered to be variable input parameters into the simulation. [21] The antenna is enclosed by a numerical bounding box that provides retarded time absorbing boundary conditions for the electromagnetic field. For a fixed set of parameters. The resulting current at the feed point of the antenna is obtained from the simulation. At these altitudes the electron density increases with increasing altitude as can be seen in Figure 2. rÂE¼À @B @t ð5Þ r  B ¼ 0 m0 @E þ m0 J @t ð6Þ 4.

Barjatya and Swenson [2006] have shown via a DSMC simulation that on the upleg the density around the SIP will see a minimum reduction by a factor of 1.5 km [Gelinas. However. the PF-FDTD simulation best fits at elevation angle 22° are shown in Figure 4. [32] The dipole was oriented perpendicular to the payload but the spin phase of the rocket could not be reliably determined. median and lower envelopes. Figure 3. PF-FDTD values of n en are at least 15– 20% lower than the values obtained using the analytical formula. Simulated and theoretical plots of impedance magnitude of a dipole antenna of length of 1. However. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92. These initial parameters fpe. we provide error bounds for values of the plasma parameters. [30] For all the measurements the dipole was within the payload wake. 92. This was done in order to get reasonable parameter values considering the uncertainty in the impedance data.A09305 SPENCER ET AL. PF-2 and PF-3. The current was measured on only one arm of the dipole.04 m and diameter of 2.41 km. The measured impedance curve is most reliable above fce. [33] At the altitude of 92.54 cm oriented along the magnetic field.1. but the median envelope PF-2 curves were also matched using 90° elevation. The horizontal rocket velocity was about 350 m/s and the distance between the selected locations is approximately 40 km. Through our selection of upper. the data has some oscillation as the impedance magnitude curve decays after fuh. 5. Sheath size is assumed to be zero. This difference does not produce serious errors in the values of the parameters fpe and fce. PF-2 and PF-3 are chosen so that they approximate the median and the upper envelopes of the measured impedance slope at frequencies higher than the fuh.25. which was always in a reasonably homogeneous plasma.37 km.44 km.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 downleg impedance data. PF-1. This gives us the maximum spread of collision frequency values with the median envelope as a reference. the DSMC simulation includes only the neutral particles and a more substantive analysis of the wake structure involving the charged particle effects will be necessary in order to precisely account for the wake effects. However. Upleg Analysis [31] For the upleg. 5 of 9 . 1999]. all the simulation runs were done with an elevation angle (qel) equal to 22°. The three PF-FDTD matched results for each altitude. [29] PF-1 is chosen so that it approximates the lower envelope of the impedance magnitude data slope at frequencies higher than the upper hybrid resonance fuh. The values were tuned until three alternative Zsim( f ) fits were obtained to the measured impedance Zm( f ). Since the angle of the dipole with respect to the magnetic field could vary between 22° to 90° on the upleg. This difference makes the PF-FDTD a much more accurate tool to obtain the electron neutral collision frequency. For a match against data. and 92. we performed simulation runs to compare the impedance magnitude curves produced by the PF-FDTD simulation Zsim( f ) against the rocket impedance magnitude data Zm( f ). are chosen based on confidence in the measured impedance above the upper hybrid resonance frequency. The SAL payload was at an angle of 68° with respect to the Earth’s magnetic field on the upleg at the height of 92.37 km on the upleg. 5.37 km. The parameter values obtained are shown in Table 1. The three altitudes are chosen to be at approximately the same height as those on the downleg.which also [26] We observe that the resonance positions predicted by the analytical formula ZB( f ) are slightly shifted from that of the PF-FDTD simulation. we selected three altitudes in the Es layer. This method for selection of the impedance curves is repeated for all upleg and Figure 4. fce and n en were determined by comparing the impedance magnitude data with the analytical formula ZB( f ) using a least square fit algorithm weighted by the confidence level in the instrument measurement over different frequency ranges. The three selected heights are 92. the PF-FDTD impedance curve Zsim( f ) predicts a more damped response for the same value of n en. [28] With the starting parameters obtained from ZB( f ). Analysis of Impedance Data [27] The analysis of the impedance data with the PFFDTD simulation requires that initial estimates for the plasma parameters be determined.

849 Figure 5.14 1851 2125 2418 46. Upleg 0. Our analysis yields much higher values of Figure 6. The electron neutral collision frequency at this height is between 90 kHz to 120 kHz.which also shows plasma param- Table 2.604 46. [35] The cyclotron resonance troughs indicate a higher ambient magnetic field than that predicted by IGRF model.604 Height = 92. which is between the lower and upper envelope n0e values.11 0. with the median envelope giving n0e of 1658 cmÀ3.06 MHz. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.41 km and 92.37 km and the highest (2418 cmÀ3) at altitude 92.355 46.2.44 km.16 1596 1986 2343 46.17 1725 46.615 Height = 92.10 0.16 1140 46.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 Table 1.706 nT which corresponds to a cyclotron frequency fce of 1.44 km.852 46. All the simulation runs were done with an elevation angle (qel) equal to 72°. Upleg 0. We see that the plasma electron density n0e increases from lower to upper envelopes.355 Height = 92. This again gives us the maximum spread of collision frequency values with the PF-2 curve as a reference.764 0.41 km altitude.17 1730 47.103 46.100 Height = 92. while PF-2 values were between 101 kHz and 118 kHz.12 0. Upleg 0. Downleg 0.14 0. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.374 0.604 47. [34] For the other two altitudes.10 0. Downleg 0.12 1476 1658 1917 46.355 46.11 0.14 1658 1917 2343 46.352 shows plasma parameters obtained from Balmain’s theory. The collision frequency values obtained from Balmain’s theory are much higher than the values of PF-2.38 km altitude to 140 kHz (highest value) at 92.852 47.15 1552 46.666 Height = 92.18 1430 46. Downleg 0. Downleg Analysis [37] The angle of the dipole with respect to the magnetic field varies between 72° to 90° on the downleg. The IGRF model predicts a magnetic field of 38. we observe similar trends.A09305 SPENCER ET AL.355 46. 5. but the median envelope PF-2 curves were also matched using 90° elevation. The impedance curves at 92.41 km.38 km.10 0. [36] Over all three upleg altitudes.09 944 1249 1476 46.355 46. Plasma Parameters Obtained by Comparing SAL Impedance Data on the Upleg at an Elevation Angle qel 22° Against PF-FDTD Simulations and Balmain’s Theory Parameter n en (MHz) noe (/cc) B (nT) n en (MHz) noe (/cc) B (nT) n en (MHz) noe (/cc) B (nT) PF-1 PF-2 PF-3 Balmain 0.44 km.11 0.11 0.37 km. [38] The plasma parameters obtained with elevation angle 72° are shown in Table 2. Using Balmain’s theory for comparison against PF-2 yielded collision frequencies between 150 kHz and 170 kHz.44 km on the upleg.44 km altitudes are shown in Figures 5 and 6 respectively. the collision frequencies ranged from 90 kHz (lowest value) at 92.41 km. If this value is used in ZB( f ) or the PF-FDTD analysis the resultant impedance curves cannot be matched to the measured data. The plasma parameters obtained from Balmain’s model are obtained under the same matching condition as PF-2.604 47. The lowest plasma electron density (1476 cmÀ3) was obtained at altitude 92.09 0. This may be due to an additional magnetic field from the Mass Spectrometer which was present on the payload.604 46.17 1914 46.556 0.13 2270 2494 2729 46.892 0.852 Height = 92. ambient magnetic field strength between 46000 and 47000 nT.41 km on the upleg. n en (MHz) noe (/cc) B (nT) 6 of 9 .07 0. Plasma Parameters Obtained by Comparing SAL Impedance Data on the Downleg at an Elevation Angle qel 72° Against PF-FDTD Simulations and Balmain’s Theory Parameter n en (MHz) noe (/cc) B (nT) n en (MHz) noe (/cc) B (nT) PF-1 PF-2 PF-3 Balmain 0.12 0.352 47.

41 km. We note that the ambient magnetic field strengths obtained on the downleg were again much higher than predicted by the IGRF model.41 km and 92. which is between the lower and upper envelope n0e values.45 km on the downleg.38 km. eters obtained from Balmain’s theory.38 km on the downleg. 7 of 9 . ue? ¼ 1þ 1  2 EÂB n en E? À 2pfce B B2 ! ð7Þ n en 2pfce [42] Under the same assumptions the field-perpendicular ion flow will have a similar expression. As was observed on the upleg. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.45 km. Figure 10.41 km on the downleg.38 km and the highest value 2729 cmÀ3 at altitude 92. Collision frequencies varied from a low of 70 kHz at 92. Collision frequencies inferred from PF-FDTD best fits to SAL PIP data plotted along with the theoretical values obtained from Schunk and Nagy [2000].38 km to a high of 160 kHz at 92. [40] The lowest plasma electron density of 944 cmÀ3 was obtained at altitude 92. Discussion [41] For a cold collisional fluid plasma the flow of the electrons perpendicular to the magnetic field is given by Cowley [2000]. Higher values of collision frequency are again predicted by Balmain’s model when compared with PF-2. [39] For the downleg altitude of 92. Balmain’s theory in 6. Figure 9. with the median envelope giving n0e of 1249 cmÀ3. The electron neutral collision frequency at this height is between 68 kHz to 100 kHz. j? ¼ n0e eðui? À ue? Þ ¼ sp E þ s H B Â E ð8Þ Figure 8. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92. If the ambient density of ions (n0i) is assumed equal to n0e then the current density perpendicular to the magnetic field is given by.A09305 SPENCER ET AL. PF-2 collision frequency values varied between 100 kHz and 138 kHz. Three PF-FDTD impedance curves matched to SAL impedance data at an altitude of 92.44 km the PF-FDTD simulation results are shown in Figures 7. 8 and 9. 92.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 Figure 7. comparison yielded collision frequencies between 156 kHz and 180 kHz. the plasma electron density n 0e increases from lower to upper envelopes.

Antennas Propag. 76(023503). (2000). latitude and longitude of the SAL mission. time. K. This will allow the simulation to be used for analyzing the impedance over the entire flight path. Blackwell. S. (1964). Amatucci (2005b). Balmain. 72 and 90 degrees downleg) are all within 10 percent of each other at each altitude. A10302. 997 – 1013. [49] Since the dipole was within the wake structure of the payload when the measurements were made. D. 2000]. Phys. Chau. Swenson. First e.and d-region incoherent scatter spectra observed over Jicamarca. Sanderson from the Space Dynamics laboratory for many helpful discussions on the working of the SIP instrument. The collision frequency values obtained from the median envelopes (PF-2) are also shown in Figure 10. Ann. electron-oxygen and weighted average collision frequencies are shown in Figure 10. Fish (2003). 2006]. and K. Electron temperature and density determination from RF impedance probe measurements in the lower ionosphere. Blackwell. D. Carlson. Cambridge Univ.. Next generation plasma impedance probe instrumentation technique. Cowley. S. the inputs being the day. Geophys. The ratio n en/fce is expected to remain small throughout the whole region of the ionosphere where appreciable plasma densities are present (above $90 km). Abstracts SA12B-1106. and W. 389 – 392. [51] Acknowledgments. 1295 – 1303.. Cowling (1970). G. We are currently researching the available techniques to perform this analysis. The impedance of a short dipole antenna in a magnetoplasma. C. Res. and C. Washington. [46] When the densities of the neutral species are almost equal. Plasmas. M. Antenna impedance measurements in a magnetized plasma. Logan. Barjatya. Balmain. year. Instrum. [50] Simulation time limits the usage of PF-FDTD to analyzing relatively small data sets. These numbers are consistent with the assumption that electrons contribute only to the Hall current. The PF-FDTD simulation is a much more powerful tool to estimate the electron fluid parameters than the analytical formulas of Balmain.. J. (1979). Rev. we calculate the weighted average of the two collision frequency profiles according to the expression. À Á n N2 ¼ 2:33 Â 10À11 nN2 1 À 1:21 Â 10À4 Te Te  pffiffiffiffiffipffiffiffiffiffi n O2 ¼ 1:82 Â 10À10 nO2 1 þ 3:6 Â 10À2 Te Te ð9Þ from the PF-FDTD simulation are lower than the collision frequencies derived from the quiet time MSISE-90 neutral densities. Baker (1972). electron drift along neutral winds is negligible at altitudes between 80– 100 km [Heelis. 91+. Ann. Next generation plasma frequency probe instrumentation technique. H. Conclusions and Future Work [48] We found that a Swept Impedance Probe can be used to measure the electron neutral collision frequency and electron density accurately in the vicinity of the probe.1029/2006JA011806. In addition to the values obtained for the upleg and downleg angles of 22 and 72 degrees. Bishop.A09305 SPENCER ET AL. D. Walker. The Mathematical Theory of Nonuniform Gases. Walker. Characteristics of the plasma impedance probe with constant bias. obtained from IGRF) are 0. K. sp and sH are the Pederson and Hall conductivity. Swenson (2006).. we also show the values obtained with the maximum 90 degree elevation between the dipole and ambient magnetic field. Geophys. G. and E. 14(092106). and W. 273 – 283.. (1969). Planet. K. D..066 and 0.06 MHz. 111. Utah State Univ.. D. Messer. 2004]. C. AGU. Sci. IEEE Trans. J. Geophys. 1970] depend strongly on the density of molecular nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2).. The altitude profiles generated for electron-nitrogen. To obtain the effective electron neutral collision frequency with altitude. doi:10.. Future work will continue to reduce the simulation time by efficient utilization of memory allocation and paralleling the finite difference calculations. Amatucci (2005a).. S. 7. Antennas Propag. Messer. Phys. 12(093510). We observe that the collision frequencies using the median envelope (22 and 90 degrees upleg. New York. L... [44] The electron-oxygen and electron-nitrogen collision frequencies with changing density and electron temperature are given by Schunk and Nagy [2000]. In order to do this a more substantive analysis of the wake structure involving the charged particle effects will be necessary. A. Further.. Blackwell. 605 – 617. Space Sci. C. Press. The electron neutral collision frequency values obtained were more than 20% lower than the values predicted by Balmain’s theory. The properties of antennas in plasmas. II: Dipole antenna. TUTORIAL: Magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions: A tutorial review. C. Plasmas. 24. D. This is especially true in the case of values of n en. [43] Electron neutral collisions at 90– 100 km are dominated by momentum transfer mechanisms [Schunk and Nagy. Telecommun. 17(3). 2000].. N. in Magnetospheric Current Systems. a correction factor needs to be determined to obtain the true values of n0e and n en far away from the payload. The authors wish to thank Wayne G. G. and T. Utah. We also note that the electron neutral collision frequencies obtained 8 of 9 . pp. At an altitude of around 92 – 95 km the momentum transfer collision frequencies calculated from the Chapman-Cowling collision integral [Chapman and Cowling. Amatucci (2007). n avg ¼ nN2 n N2 þ nO2 n O2 nN2 þ nO2 ð11Þ References Balmain. [47] The highest and lowest values obtained from PF-FDTD analysis for the ratio of n en to fce (1. and W. Thus electrons should E Â B drift at all ionospheric altitudes and contribute only to the Hall current [Cowley.. D. 12(5). W. Measurement of absolute electron density with a plasma impedance probe. Monogr. 118..1509 respectively. R. Dipole admittance for magnetoplasma diagnostics. [52] Zuyin Pu thanks Lynette Gelinas and another reviewer for their assistance in evaluating this paper. (2004).: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 where ui? is the field-perpendicular ion flow velocity. IEEE Trans. Kudeki (2006). and C. ð10Þ where nN2 and nO2 are the molecular nitrogen and oxygen densities respectively. S. AGU Fall Meeting. Walker. E. The MSISE values are then used in equations (9) and (10) to produce an altitude profile for the collision frequencies. Observation of triboelectric charging effects on Langmuir-type probes in dusty plasma. 20. Chapman. Master’s thesis. [45] We obtain the neutral densities and the electron temperature profiles from the MSISE-90 model. D. the weighted average drops down to the arithmetic mean of the two collision frequencies [Chau and Kudeki. Carlson. 34.

Rep. Oliver. Nagy (2000). Logan. Nikitin. UT 84322. Barjatya.. K.. Ward. 13(1). (1966). P. of New Hampshire. 21 – 29.D. Burchill (2006). Mushiake (1978). (1999). E. Smy (1973). and Chemisty. N. and C. Center for Space Engineering. Utah State University.: ELECTRON DENSITY AND COLLISION FREQUENCY A09305 Gelinas. Computer and Electronics Engineering Technology. Artech House. Ionospheres. USA. R.. Plasma impedance spectrum analyzer (PISA): An advanced impedance probe for measuring plasma density and other parameters.. P. Patra. An in-situ measurement of charged mesospheric dust during a sporadic a sporadic atom layer event. New York. Computational Electrodynamics: The Finite-Difference Time-Domain Method. Pfaff. Press. 825 – 838. The numerical modelling of an antenna in plasma. Swenson. IEEE Trans. thesis. 302 – 307. Durham. Ward. London. Ph. Physical Sciences Department. F. H. Physics.. Mass. AGU Fall Meeting.-Terr. Weber State University. 9 of 9 . Antennas Propag. 695 – 702. Cambridge Atmospheric and Space Science Series. 1377 – 1381. and P. IEEE Trans. D. Ishizone. USA. Staras. Sol. ÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀ ÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀÀ T.. Antennas Propag. R. C. and A. Bhat (1969). Furse (2005). J. and C.usu. Harvard Univ. Ph. Abstracts SM12A-07. and J.. Heelis. J. T. and S. Hagness (2005). thesis.D. Swenson (2001). 1703 University Circle. W. and B. L. Uribe.. 66. Server. and C. E. and Y. IEEE Trans. Electrodynamics in the low and middle latitude ionosphere: A tutorial. Clements. (2004). 49(10). (2006). IEEE Trans.A09305 SPENCER ET AL. (espencer@ engineering. NASA Tech. R. Phys. 12. 53(8). Antennas Propag. Phys. 4170 Old Main Hill. Plasma Physics. SR-2. Yee. 4511 – 4517. R.. J. A. cylindrical antenna in a lossy magnetoplasma. Logan. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.. Rao. J. B. Numerical solution of initial boundary value problems involving Maxwell’s equations in isotropic media. J. Daytona Beach. 600 South Clyde Morris Boulevard. (1964). UT 84408-1703.edu) A. Ogden. J. The impedance of an electric dipole in a magneto-ionic medium.. Atmos. 2711 – 2718. Taflove. Andriyas. Swenson.K. Experimental investigation of the low-frequency capacitive response of a plasma sheath... Spencer. Univ.. Appl. Ward. Antennas Propag. U. USA. 44. Cambridge Univ. Sawaya. Measurement of the impedance of a linear antenna in a magnetoplasma. Schunk. S. F. B.. H. Radio Sci. NASA-CR-107453. The impedance of a short dipole antenna in a magnetized plasma via a finite difference time domain model. Experimental investigation on the impedance behavior of a short.. R. 14(3). Cambridge. FL 32114. Impedance of a short dipole antenna in a cold plasma. Rowland. Utah. San Francisco.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful