An Investigation into the Performance of the Wide Field Auroral Imager Microchannel Plates
thesisposted on 11.11.2010, 12:44 by Helen Yates
The work detailed in this thesis contributes to the larger goal of building a Wide Field Auroral Imager (WFAI) (on the KuaFu-B payload). The imager has a novel design based on microchannel plate optics (MCPs) that will allow a wide field of view (FOV) and produce a high resolution image of the aurora in the far ultraviolet (FUV). The scientific aim of the instrument is to provide systematic coverage of the global northern and southern auroral ovals from a low polar orbit. Proposed orbital parameters, although still subject to review, need to allow KuaFu-B1 and KuaFu-B2 (at perigee) to be able to study the southern aurora. Practical achievable orbital ranges for the WFAI for differing KuaFu orbits are presented. This thesis examines the MCP technology that will allow the wide FOV imaging that in turn will pave the way for imaging of the entire auroral oval. There has been much research on MCP technology (Brunton (1994) etc), but this has been primarily in the X-ray waveband. The WFAI aims to take this technology to the far ultraviolet (FUV). The performance of MCPs is characterised by their ability to focus FUV light (their spatial resolution and efficiency) and FOV. Results are presented on the point-to-point X-ray focusing of a flat MCP and the focusing of a slumped WFAI MCP through the use of a FUV deuterium lamp. Results are also presented on an investigation into the surface metrology of both flat and slumped MCP optics and the thesis examines the fragility of the MCPs and investigates any focus degradation issues. Finally the key results are summarised with a discussion on MCP optics and how well they suit the requirements of the WFAI. Future work regarding analysis of detectors and MCP optics in auroral imaging is discussed.