Numerical modeling of plasma-surface interactions in space vacuum

Nakul Nuwal, Deborah A. Levin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The parasitic current on solar panel surfaces are a major reason for the power loss in a solar array circuit. Previous work shows a non-linear growth of parasitic current with interconnect potential, also known as ‘snapover’ which is caused by the secondary electron emission from the dielectric surface adjacent to the interconnect. In this paper we simulate the non-linear increase in current with interconnect potential on a domain size on the scale of plasma sheath thickness and show the kinetic details of the electrons near the interconnect-dielectric surface in a low earth orbit ambient plasma environment. We also identify the key physical aspects which govern the parasitic current from an exposed interconnect-dielectric junction for a dielectric material of MgF2 which is commonly used on spacecraft solar panel surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781624105951
StatePublished - 2020
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2020 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Jan 6 2020Jan 10 2020

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
Volume1 PartF


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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