Resonance - Electric Field Sensors

The analysis of the electric field sensors on board the satellites of the Russian mission Resonance, which will be launched in the next decade, is the focus of this project. The aim of this mission is the investigation of wave-particle interactions and plasma dynamics in the inner magnetosphere of Earth, with the focus on phenomena occurring along the same magnetic field line and within the very same flux tube of the Earth's magnetic field. Amongst a variety of instruments and probes, several low- and high frequency electric and magnetic sensors will be on-board.

Short Description

In the course of this project the electric field sensors (antennas) are analysed with a focus on the high-frequency electric sensors. For that purpose two different methods are applied, an experimental and a numerical one. The former, called rheometry, is essentially an electrolytic tank measurement. The latter consists of the numerical solution of the underlying field equations by means of well-proven electromagnetic codes and computer programs written specifically for this purpose. A metallic scale model of the whole spacecraft including the antennas is built for rheometry.

This model has to contain all features of the spacecraft that influence the reception properties of the antennas. The numerical computer simulations are based on corresponding wire grid or patch models. While rheometry gives a reference with regard to modelling accuracy, the computer simulations facilitate the study of the sensor performance in dependence on sensor geometry modifications. So the most suitable configurations can be determined.

The project will provide information which is used for the decision on the final sensor configuration. In particular, the antenna capacitances and effective length vectors of different sensor options are measured and calculated for the quasi-static frequency range, yielding the sensitivity of the antennas to electric fields as a function of wave incidence and wave polarization. Furthermore, the accuracy of the evaluation and interpretation of the electric field observations which will be made on board Resonance will be improved by this detailed antenna analysis.

Project Partners


Space Research Institute (IWF), Austrian Academy of Sciences, Department of Extraterrestrial Physics - DI Dr. Wolfgang Macher


  • Prototypenbau Meister
  • Space Research Institute (IKI), Russian Academy of Sciences - Dr. Mikhail Mogilevsky, Dr. Mikhail Yanovsky
  • Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement (LPCE), Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique - Dr. Jean-Louis Rauch, Dr. Jean Gabriel Trotignon

Contact Address

Space Research Institute (IWF), Austrian Academy of Sciences
Department of Extraterrestrial Physics
A-8042 Graz

DI Dr. Wolfgang Macher

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Helmut O. Rucker