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Lunary Dust Grain Charging by Electron Impact: Complex Role of Secondary Electron Emissions in Space EnvironmentsDust grains in various astrophysical environments are generally charged electrostatically by photoelectric emissions with radiation from nearby sources, or by electron/ion collisions by sticking or secondary electron emissions (SEES). The high vacuum environment on the lunar surface leads to some unusual physical and dynamical phenomena involving dust grains with high adhesive characteristics, and levitation and transportation over long distances. Knowledge of the dust grain charges and equilibrium potentials is important for understanding a variety of physical and dynamical processes in the interstellar medium, and heliospheric, interplanetary/ planetary, and lunar environments. It has been well recognized that the charging properties of individual micron-/submicron-size dust grains are expected to be substantially different from the corresponding values for bulk materials. In this paper, we present experimental results on the charging of individual 0.2-13 m size dust grains selected from Apollo 11 and 17 dust samples, and spherical silica particles by exposing them to mono-energetic electron beams in the 10-200 eV energy range. The dust charging process by electron impact involving the SEES discussed is found to be a complex charging phenomenon with strong particle size dependence. The measurements indicate substantial differences between the polarity and magnitude of the dust charging rates of individual small-size dust grains, and the measurements and model properties of corresponding bulk materials. A more comprehensive plan of measurements of the charging properties of individual dust grains for developing a database for realistic models of dust charging in astrophysical and lunar environments is in progress.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Abbas, M. M.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Tankosic, D.
(Universities Space Research Association Huntsville, AL, United States)
Crave, P. D.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
LeClair, A.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Spann, J. F.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2010
Publication Information
Publication: The Astrophysical Journal
Volume: 718
Issue: 2
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
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