Quasi-thermal noise spectroscopy: The art and the practice

Abstract : Quasi-thermal noise spectroscopy is an efficient tool for measuring in situ macroscopic plasma properties in space, using a passive wave receiver at the ports of an electric antenna. This technique was pioneered on spinning spacecraft carrying very long dipole antennas in the interplanetary medium—like ISEE-3 and Ulysses—whose geometry approached a “theoretician's dream.” The technique has been extended to other instruments in various types of plasmas on board different spacecraft and will be implemented on several missions in the near future. Such extensions require different theoretical modelizations, involving magnetized, drifting, or dusty plasmas with various particle velocity distributions and antennas being shorter, biased, or made of unequal wires. We give new analytical approximations of the plasma quasi-thermal noise (QTN) and study how the constraints of the real world in space can (or cannot) be compatible with plasma detection by QTN spectroscopy. We consider applications to the missions Wind, Cassini, BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter, and Parker Solar Probe.
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N. Meyer-Vernet, K. Issautier, M. Moncuquet. Quasi-thermal noise spectroscopy: The art and the practice. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2017, 122 (8), pp.7925-7945. ⟨10.1002/2017JA024449⟩. ⟨hal-01628354⟩

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