3 years ago

Microchannel plate lifetime experiment for the DIS and DES instruments on the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

A. Rager, A. Barrie, S. Smith, D. Mackler, B. Giles, D. Gershman, L. Avanov, D. Chornay, C. Pollock
Microchannel Plate (MCP) gain and its stability in time predominantly determine the success of any experiment in long-term space plasma missions using such a detector. This is of particular importance for the Fast Plasma Investigation (FPI) suite on the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) because FPI operates 64 MCP assemblies that require consistent inter-calibration over years on orbit. Due to the massive amount of MCP chevron assemblies FPI did not have enough time to fully precondition the flight detectors prior to launch. This process extracts charge until the gain change in time is significantly reduced. Preconditioning ensures that variation in countrate is environmental and not detector drift. Therefore knowledge of the gain change in time in a predictable manner is vital for the quality of data acquired by FPI. To understand the long-term behavior of the FPI MCPs we have conducted extended lifetime experiments with flight-grade MCP assemblies for both ion and electron detectors. These lifetime experiments demonstrate that the gain begins to stabilize after 1.0 C/ c m 2 has been extracted from an MCP assembly. It is expected, based of the lifetime experiments, that the FPI MCPs will operate for 20 + years with stable performance without gain degradation.
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