A technique to quantitatively determine the sheath impedance of the Van Allen Probes Electric Field and Waves (EFW) instrument is presented. This is achieved, for whistler mode waves, through a comparison between the total electric field wave power spectra calculated from magnetic field observations and cold plasma theory and the total electric field wave power measured by the EFW spherical double probes instrument. In a previous study, a simple density-dependent sheath impedance model was developed in order to account for the differences between the observed and calculated wave electric field. The current study builds on this previous work by investigating the remaining discrepancies, identifying their cause, and developing an improved sheath impedance correction. Analysis reveals that anomalous gains are caused by the spin axis antennas measuring too much electric field at specific densities and frequencies. This is accounted for in an improved sheath impedance model by introducing a density-dependent function describing the relative effective length of the probe separation, Leff, in addition to the sheath capacitance and resistance values previously calculated. Leff values vary between between 0.5 and 1.2, with values >1 accounting for the anomalous gains and values <1 accounting for the shorting effect at low densities. Applying this improved sheath impedance model results in a significant increase in the agreement level between observed and calculated electric field power spectra and wave powers over the previous model.
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- Van Allen Probes
- antenna sheath impedance
- electric field
- whistler mode waves