Low earth simulation and materials characterization

R. A. Synowki, Jeffrey S. Hale, John A. Woollam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Oxygen plasma ashers and an electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) sources are currently being used for low Earth orbit (LEO) simulation. The suitability of each of these simulation techniques is considered. Thin film coatings are characterized by optical techniques, including variable-angle spectroscopic ellipsometry, optical spectrophotometry, and laser light scatterometry. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to characterize the surface morphology of thin aluminum films as a function of substrate temperature during deposition. Results on diamondlike carbon (DLC) films show that DLC degrades with simulated atomic oxygen (AO) exposure at a rate comparable to Kapton polyimide. Since DLC is not as susceptible as Kapton to environmental factors such as moisture absorption, it could potentially provide more accurate measurements of AO fluence on short space flights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

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