A ground-based radio freouencv inductively coupled plasma apparatus for atomic oxygen simulation in low Earth orbit

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number103301
Journal / PublicationReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2007


A radio frequency (rf) inductively coupled plasma apparatus has been developed to simulate the atomic oxygen environment encountered in low Earth orbit (LEO). Basing on the novel design, the apparatus can achieve stable, long lasting operation, pure and high density oxygen plasma beam. Furthermore, the effective atomic oxygen flux can be regulated. The equivalent effective atomic oxygen flux may reach (2.289-2.984) X 1016 at./cm2 s at an oxygen pressure of 1.5 Pa and rf power of 400 W. The equivalent atomic oxygen flux is about 100 times than that in the LEO environment. The mass loss measured from the polyimide sample changes linearly with the exposure time, while the density of the eroded holes becomes smaller. The erosion mechanism of the polymeric materials by atomic oxygen is complex and involves initial reactions at the gas-surface interface as well as steady-state material removal. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.