Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Winter 1-20-2023


A coronal mass ejection or a high-altitude nuclear explosion can produce an artificial radiation belt containing high-energy electrons (~1MeV) in the Earth's magnetosphere. Some electrons become trapped in the Earth's magnetic field and have enough energy to severely damage or destroy nearly all lower-earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Over the years, there has been much interest in using a space-borne dipole antenna to inject very low frequency (VLF) whistler waves (3-30kHz) along the Earth's magnetic field lines. The whistler waves precipitate the electrons from the magnetosphere through a wave-particle interaction called pitch-angle scattering. However, because the magnetosphere is composed of plasma, a charged antenna will form a nonlinear plasma sheath around its surface. The plasma sheath changes the input impedance of the antenna, reducing efficiency. This research uses a fully kinetic electrostatic curvilinear particle-in-cell (CPIC) code to characterize the sheath and understand its effects on the input impedance of the antenna.


dipole, magnetosphere, sheath, plasma, particle-in-cell, whistler wave

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Mark Gilmore

Second Committee Member

Dr. Edl Schamiloglu

Third Committee Member

Dr. Quinn Marksteiner

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Paul Song