Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Prof. Mihaly Horanyi

Abstract

The Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies’ (CCLDAS) electrostatic dust accelerator at the University of Colorado is used to simulate hypervelocity dust impacts similar to those seen in space and on airless bodies in the solar system. The charging of dust is done via pulsing a reservoir while maintaining a needle in the center of the reservoir at a constant voltage. Once the dust is charged it is accelerated out of the source and through an electric potential of up to 3 MV. The dust charging efficiency seen at both the CU accelerator and the sister facility in Heidelberg, Germany is well below the expected maximum charging limit. The work presented in this paper will focus on how the characteristics of the pulse relate to the charging of the dust particles and how to improve the charging efficiency.

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