The SupraThermal Ion Monitor for space weather predictions

F. Allegrini, M. I. Desai, S. Livi, D. J. McComas, G. C. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Measurement of suprathermal energy ions in the heliosphere has always been challenging because (1) these ions are situated in the energy regime only a few times higher than the solar wind plasma, where intensities are orders of magnitude higher and (2) ion energies are below or close to the threshold of state-of-art solid-state detectors. Suprathermal ions accelerated at coronal mass ejection-driven shocks propagate out ahead of the shocks. These shocks can cause geomagnetic storms in the Earth's magnetosphere that can affect spacecraft and ground-based power and communication systems. An instrument with sufficient sensitivity to measure these ions can be used to predict the arrival of the shocks and provide an advance warning for potentially geo-effective space weather. In this paper, we present a novel energy analyzer concept, the Suprathermal Ion Monitor (STIM) that is designed to measure suprathermal ions with high sensitivity. We show results from a laboratory prototype and demonstrate the feasibility of the concept. A list of key performances is given, as well as a discussion of various possible detectors at the back end. STIM is an ideal candidate for a future space weather monitor in orbit upstream of the near-earth environment, for example, around L1. A scaled-down version is suitable for a CubeSat mission. Such a platform allows proofing the concept and demonstrating its performance in the space environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054501
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation


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