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A new basic effect in retarding potential analyzers
Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón and López-Rebollal, Óscar
A new basic effect in retarding potential analyzers.
"Physics of Plasmas", v. 7
The Retarding Potential Analyzer (RPA) is the standard instrument for in situ measurement of ion temperature and other ionospheric parameters. The fraction of incoming ions rejected by a RPA produces perturbations that reach well ahead of a thin Debye sheath, a feature common to all
collisionless, hypersonic flows past ion-rejecting bodies. This phenomenon is here found to result in a correction to Whipple’s classical law for the current characteristic of an ideal RPA sheath thin; inverse ram ion Mach number M-1, and ram angle of RPA aperture u, small or moderately small.
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