This time-lapse video documents construction of the Hypervelocity Dust Accelerator from start to finish. Credit: CCLDAS

A hypervelocity dust accelerator for studying micrometeorite impacts has been constructed at the Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies (CCLDAS) at the University of Colorado. Based on the Max-Planck-Institüt für Kernphysik (MPI-K) accelerator, this accelerator is capable of emitting single particles of a specific mass and velocity selected by the user.

The accelerator consists of a 3 MV Pelletron generator with a dust source, four image charge pickup detectors, and two interchangeable target chambers: a large high-vacuum test bed and an ultra-high vacuum impact study chamber. The large test bed is a 1.2 m diameter, 1.5 m long cylindrical vacuum chamber capable of pressures as low as 10−7 torr while the ultra-high vacuum chamber is a 0.75 m diameter, 1.1 m long chamber capable of pressures as low as 10−10 torr.

Using iron dust of up to 2 microns in diameter, final velocities have been measured up to 52 km/s. The spread of the dust particles and the effect of electrostatic focusing have been measured using a long exposure CCD and a quartz target. Furthermore, a new technique of particle selection is being developed using real time digital filtering techniques. Signals are digitized and then cross-correlated with a shaped filter, resulting in a suppressed noise floor.

Improvements over the MPI-K design, which include a higher operating voltage and digital filtering for detection, increase the available parameter space of dust emitted by the accelerator. The CCLDAS dust facility is a user facility open to the scientific community to assist with instrument calibrations and experiments.

A full review of the scientific instrument was recently published in the American Institute of Physics.

Quick Accelerator Facts:
* Energies up to 3 MV
* Particle sizes: 0.2 – 2.5 microns
* Particle velocities: 1 – 100 km/s

All the CCLDAS facilities are available for use by scientists and students from other institutions.

For questions regarding the use of any CCLDAS facilities, please contact:

Professor Mihály Horányi
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
1234 Innovation Drive
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80303
Telephone: 303-492-6903

To learn more about the CCLDAS Facilities, including the Lunar Environment Impact Laboratory and Duane Dusty Plasma Laboratory, visit http://lasp.colorado.edu/ccldas/facilities.html

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NLSI Team

Share →

SSERVI Science Teams

  • Colonizing the Moon?

    1-22-14_moonbase

    Mount Holyoke College professor Darby Dyar says it is not fantasy to think humans will colonize the moon in our lifetime.

Inspiration Room

NLSI Inspiration Room

Did you know?

The moon's highest mountains are 5,000 meters (16,000 ft).

Read More



Upcoming Events