Inference of plasma parameters from fixed-bias multi-needle Langmuir probes (m-NLP)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMeasurement Science and Technology. 2021, 32 (9), . 10.1088/1361-6501/abf804
New approaches are presented to infer plasma densities and satellite floating potentials from currents collected with fixed-bias multi-needle Langmuir probes (m-NLP). Using synthetic data obtained from kinetic simulations, comparisons are made with inference techniques developed in previous studies and, in each case, model skills are assessed by comparing their predictions with known values in the synthetic data set. The new approaches presented rely on a combination of an approximate analytic scaling law for the current collected as a function of bias voltage, and multivariate regression. Radial basis function regression (RBF) is also applied to Jacobsen et al's procedure (2010 Meas. Sci. Technol. 21 085902) to infer plasma density, and shown to improve its accuracy. The direct use of RBF to infer plasma density is found to provide the best accuracy, while a combination of analytic scaling laws with RBF is found to give the best predictions of a satellite floating potential. In addition, a proof-of-concept experimental study has been conducted using m-NLP data, collected from the Visions-2 sounding rocket mission, to infer electron densities through a direct application of RBF. It is shown that RBF is not only a viable option to infer electron densities, but has the potential to provide results that are more accurate than current methods, providing a path towards the further use of regression-based techniques to infer space plasma parameters.