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A three-dimensional, self-consistent code is employed to solve for the static potential structure surrounding a spacecraft in a high photoelectron environment. The numerical solutions show that, under certain conditions, a spacecraft can take on a negative potential in spite of strong photoelectron currents. The negative potential is due to an electrostatic barrier near the surface of the spacecraft that can reflect a large fraction of the photoelectron flux back to the spacecraft. This electrostatic barrier forms if (1) ...
Published by: Physics of Plasmas Published on: 07/2010
YEAR: 2010   DOI: 10.1063/1.3457484