CDSM Consolidation

Consolidation of the preliminary Coupled Dark State Magnetometer (CDSM) design for the European JUICE mission

Short Description

Scalar magnetometers based on optical pumping measure the magnitude of the magnetic field with high absolute accuracy. In several cases, like for the recently selected Jupiter/Ganymede mission (JUICE) by ESA, full science return can only be achieved when a scalar magnetometer is flown in addition to traditional fluxgate (vector) magnetometers. For example, a measurement accuracy of 0.2 nT over 30 days is needed to get full science return from the JUICE mission.

In 2009, the Institut für Weltraumforschung (IWF/ÖAW) in cooperation with the Institut für Experimentalphysik (IEP/TUG) started the prototyping of a new type of scalar magnetometer which is called Coupled Dark State Magnetometer (CDSM). Compared to other technologies it features an uncomplicated sensor design (no excitation coils, mechanisms and active electronics parts) with inherent omni-directional measurement capability and a high dynamic range of more than 6 decades. It has currently a technology readiness level of 5 (Engineering Model).

In October 2012, the CDSM together with two fluxgate magnetometers from TU-Braun-schweig and Imperial College London were proposed to ESA as a common instrument in response to the announcement of opportunity for JUICE. The instrument selection will take place end of February 2013.

This project aims for the consolidation of the CDSM's preliminary design for the JUICE mission with its demanding radiation, low temperature and long-term reliability requirements. It includes

  • the evaluation of a backup laser diode,
  • a long-term performance test with laser diodes in vacuum,
  • the development and test of an improved sensor design and
  • the manufacturing of a first flight model for an in space demonstration aboard the Chinese Electro-Magnetic Satellite mission which will be launched end of 2016.

This consolidation will significantly reduce the development risk of this new technology early in the definition phase of the JUICE mission and secure the participation in the international magnetometer team.

The actual goal of this project is to initiate a successful operation of the CDSM instrument at Jupiter. It will give Austrian researchers primary access to science data which are essential for a novel exploration of the Jupiter system. This is why the proposal is applied as basic research project.

Project Partners


Austrian Academy of Sciences

Project partner

University of Technology Graz

Contact Address

Austrian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
A-1010 Vienna