Spacecraft Charging and the Accumulation, Transport and Emission of Charge in Materials

Dr. J.R. Dennison
Utah State University
Department of Physics

The Utah State University Materials Physics Group has had an active research effort for the last dozen years studying spacecraft charging, the accumulation and dissipation of charge in materials resulting from their interaction with the space environment.  This colloquium discusses this important practical application from a more basic science viewpoint, in terms of the interaction of energetic beams with materials and the transport of electrons through and out of both conducting and insulating materials.  Ultimately, we try to relate these processes to the exchange of energy from incident particles to electrons in the material at a basic quantum-level description of solid state interactions.  Of particular interest are our most recent studies of charge accumulation and dissipation in highly insulating materials and experiments on radiation induced conduction performed at the Idaho Accelerator Center.