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On the efficiency of rocket-borne particle detection in the mesosphere
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2007 (English)In: Atmospheric Chemistry And Physics, ISSN 1680-7316, E-ISSN 1680-7324, Vol. 7, no 14, p. 3701-3711Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Meteoric smoke particles have been proposed as a key player in the formation and evolution of mesospheric phenomena. Despite their apparent importance still very little is known about these particles. Important questions concern the smoke number density and size distribution as a function of altitude as well as the fraction of charged particles. Sounding rockets are used to measure smoke in situ, but aerodynamics has remained a major challenge. Basically, the small smoke particles tend to follow the gas flow around the payload rather than reaching the detector if aerodynamics is not considered carefully in the detector design. So far only indirect evidence for the existence of meteoric smoke has been available from measurements of heavy charge carriers. Quantitative ways are needed that relate these measured particle population to the atmospheric particle population. This requires in particular knowledge about the size-dependent, altitude-dependent and charge-dependent detection efficiency for a given instrument. In this paper, we investigate the aerodynamics for a typical electrostatic detector design. We first quantify the flow field of the background gas, then introduce particles in the flow field and determine their trajectories around the payload structure. We use two different models to trace particles in the flow field, a Continuous motion model and a Brownian motion model. Brownian motion is shown to be of basic importance for the smallest particles. Detection efficiencies are determined for three detector designs, including two with ventilation holes to allow airflow through the detector. Results from this investigation show that rocket-borne smoke detection with conventional detectors is largely limited to altitudes above 75 km. The flow through a ventilated detector has to be relatively large in order to significantly improve the detection efficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 7, no 14, p. 3701-3711
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25697ISI: 000248733100002OAI:, id: diva2:200304
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8462Available from: 2009-01-29 Created: 2009-01-22 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Rocket-borne in situ measurements in the middle atmosphere
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rocket-borne in situ measurements in the middle atmosphere
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Earth's mesosphere and lower thermosphere in the altitude range 50-130 km is a fascinating part of our atmosphere. Complex interactions between radiative, dynamical, microphysical and chemical processes give rise to several prominent phenomena, many of those centred around the mesopause region (80-100 km). These phenomena include noctilucent clouds, polar mesosphere summer echoes, the ablation and transformation of meteoric material, and the Earth’s airglow. Strong stratification and small scale interactions are common features of both these phenomena and the mesopause region in general. In order to study interactions on the relevant spatial scales, in situ measurements from sounding rockets are essential for mesospheric research.

This thesis presents new measurement techniques and analysis methods for sounding rockets, thus helping to improve our understanding of this remote part of the atmosphere. Considering the need to perform measurements at typical rocket speeds of 1 km/s, particular challenges arise both from the design of selective, sensitive, well-calibrated instruments and from perturbations due to aerodynamic influences. This thesis includes a quantitative aerodynamic analysis of impact and sampling techniques for meteoric particles, revealing a distinct size discrimination due to the particle flow. Optical techniques are investigated for mesospheric ice particle populations, resulting in instrument concepts for accessing smaller particles based on Mie scattering at short ultraviolet wavelengths. Rocket-borne resonance fluorescence measurements of atomic oxygen are critically re-assessed, leading to new calibration concepts based on photometry of O2 airglow emissions.

The work presented here also provides important pre-studies for the upcoming PHOCUS rocket campaign from Esrange in July 2010. PHOCUS will address the interaction between three major mesospheric players: meteoric smoke, noctilucent clouds and gas-phase chemistry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Meteorologiska institutionen (MISU), 2009. p. 59
rocket measurements, noctilucent clouds, meteoric smoke, nightglow, mesosphere, aerodynamics
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8462 (URN)978-91-7155-813-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-02-20, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 12 A, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2009-01-29 Created: 2009-01-22Bibliographically approved

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