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The Instrument

Tuesday 20 May 2014, by Xavier Bonnin

To meet the science objectives, the RPW instrument has to consist of a sophisticated plasma/radio wave receiver system connected to high sensitivity electric and magnetic sensors. Since the receiver system covers a very wide frequency range (quasi-DC to 20 MHz for electric, and 0.1 Hz to 1 MHz for magnetic), different kinds of sensors are used for the measurements.

The electric antenna (ANT), consisting on a set of three monopoles and the magnetic search coil unit (SCM) are designed to perform correctly for quasi -DC as well as for high frequency measurements. In particular, ANT design is optimised to satisfy the goal of measuring both the quasi-DC/low frequency electric fields and higher frequency radio and thermal noise emissions.

A biasing unit (BIAS) will allow low frequency electric field measurements with significantly increased accuracy, sensitivity and lower noise levels.. The three TDS, LFR and TNR-HFR sub-systems correspond to the core of the receiver system by covering both waveform data and power spectral densities. TDS, LFR and TNR-HFR are connected to a common Data Processing Unit (DPU) that will handle commands, data and communication with S/C.

Figure 1 presents the RPW block diagram.