, Volume 71, Issue 1-4, pp 597-622

The Polar plasma wave instrument

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Abstract

The Plasma Wave Instrument on the Polar spacecraft is designed to provide measurements of plasma waves in the Earth's polar regions over the frequency range from 0.1 Hz to 800 kHz. Three orthogonal electric dipole antennas are used to detect electric fields, two in the spin plane and one aligned along the spacecraft spin axis. A magnetic loop antenna and a triaxial magnetic search coil antenna are used to detect magnetic fields. Signals from these antennas are processed by five receiver systems: a wideband receiver, a high-frequency waveform receiver, a low-frequency waveform receiver, two multichannel analyzers; and a pair of sweep frequency receivers. Compared to previous plasma wave instruments, the Polar plasma wave instrument has several new capabilities. These include (1) an expanded frequency range to improve coverage of both low- and high-frequency wave phenomena, (2) the ability to simultaneously capture signals from six orthogonal electric and magnetic field sensors, and (3) a digital wideband receiver with up to 8-bit resolution and sample rates as high as 249k samples s−1.