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Space Based Plasma Radiators


Development of Effective Plasma Radiators of Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Waves for the Satellite-Based Geological Prospecting

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-PLS/Plasma Physics/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Russian Academy of Sciences / Institute of Applied Physics, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., N. Novgorod

Supporting institutes

  • Experimental Designing Bureau of Machine Building (OKBM), Russia, N. Novgorod reg., N. Novgorod

Project summary

The proposed project is devoted to development of plasma radiators of the VLF electromagnetic waves for sounding the Earth from geospace.

Diagnostics of the earth's near-surface layer by the VLF waves incoming from space is based on the fact that "VLF field structures near to the earth’s surface depend on its accident and a distribution of the electrodynamical characteristics at a depth of the order of a typical scale of the low-frequency wave penetration into the ground. Using these dependencies, one can draw up maps of the ground surface electrodynamical impedance and then utilize them for geological prospecting and forecasting the earthquakes.

To realize such activities, it is necessary to develop first the effective VLF radiators to be located in geospace. In our opinion, the most promising prospects are associated with so-called plasma antennas, i.e. various plasma structures artificially created in the radiator vicinity, which allow an appreciable increase in the radiation power of customary elementary dipoles in the VLF/ELF bands. These structures possess a form of field aligned density enhancements arising due to ionization of the released gas or the heating of the surrounding medium by the radiator near-zone field. Under the optimal conditions, the appearance of such structures in the antenna vicinity provides a considerable increase in the radiation power and allows controlling the radiation pattern.

In the course of performing this project, the main attention will be paid to considering the formation of optimal plasma-waveguide antenna systems (PWAS), modeling their operation in laboratory plasmas with similarity parameters appropriate to those of the ionosphere and magnetosphere, and to working out the packages of computer programs for calculation of the electrodynamical characteristics of the proposed antennas and the fields radiated from them. The laboratory experiments are presumed to be made in the large-scale devices, which already exist in IAP and should only be slightly adapted for project activities. In the experiments, an additional ionization of the released gas will be used in the radiator near-zone field to produce the PWAS. Computational and design activities will be carried out in OKBM.

As the main result, at the final stage of the project execution, we anticipate to present the theoretical foundation and experimental verification of a feasibility to develop effective and compact VLF antennas suitable for arranging aboard a satellite.

In the course of the project execution, a scientific collaboration is expected with French- researchers whose interests involve the similar problems.


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