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PhD Thesis: Detection of Energetic Neutral Atoms and its Application in Heliospheric Science

2 July 2005, edited by Tinu
(Translations: Deutsch)

My PhD thesis written at the Space Research and Planetary Science group of the Physikalisches Institut at the University of Bern.

Abstract

The aim of this thesis was to develop and test highly sensitive imaging low-energy neutral particle mass spectrometers for application in heliospheric science. Two different neutral particle instruments were built, the Neutral Interstellar Composition Experiment (NICE) and the prototype of the IBEX-Lo sensor of the Interstellar Boundary Explorer mission (IBEX), a mission recently selected by NASA for development and flight. To support the development, a material test experiment for the characterization of charge conversion surfaces was improved in sensitivity and completely automated. New computer based methods for the optimization of ion-optical designs were investigated and successfully applied. For the calibration of these and similar neutral particle instruments, existing ion beam calibration facilities were upgraded to provide a beam of low-energy neutral atoms.

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updated 2 July 2005