IRF-U Space Plasma Physics
| INSTITUTET FÖR RYMDFYSIK
| Swedish Institute of Space Physics
|| (59o50.272'N, 17o38.786'E)
the research programme
Space Plasma Physics
see also our page in Swedish
|27 jan 2015: Follow the
countdown for the March launch of NASA's MMS satellites at
the project web pages.
We provide hardware and data analysis for the FIELDS consortium.
|22 jan 2015:
First results from Rosetta are now out in Science, including the first
signs of an emerging cometary magnetoshere seen by the plasma instruments.
the IRF press release.
|28 May 2014:
Daniel Graham and co-workers have mapped the details of magnetic reconnection
at interfaces between plasmas of very different properties using our and other
instruments on ESA's Cluster satellites. The result is published today in
Physical Review Letters.
We investigate what
goes on in space using instruments we build
ourselves and fly on spacecraft, ground based instruments, computer
simulations and plasma theory. Here are some samples of our research:
For the moment,
we have nine instruments in
various parts of the solar system.
- May 2014: The properties of asymmetric magnetic reconnection, important for storage and release
of magnetic energy in a variety of cosmic contexts, could be explored in detail
with our and other instruments on ESA's Cluster satellites. The results were
published in Physical Review Letters.
- Jul 2013:
Magnetic reconnection can be more efficient in accelerating electrons to
high energy when variable rather than steady, we show in a paper in
- Aug 2012:
Exploring the properties of thin sheets in space, we have for the first time been able
to verify the properties of so called lower hybrid drift waves in space around Earth,
using our instruments on the multi-spacecraft Cluster mission.
The results were published in Physical Review
Letters: see also our press release.
- Jan 2012: Cold plasma previously hidden in the magnetosphere is revealed by our instruments on
the Cluster satellites in a study we publish in Geophysical Research Letters,
also featured in National Geographic Daily News and an AGU news release.
- Jan 2012: We show that dusty plasma around Enceladus affects
Saturn's magnetosphere. See the NASA mission news feature or the editor's highlight in Journal of
- Jul 2011: Plasma jets are common in the universe, and now we know the details of what happens
when they hit an obstacle, using our instruments on the Cluster satellites
in the Earth's magnetic tail.
highlights the study, published in Physical Review Letters.
- Oct 2010: Small pulse-like waves
known as electron holes dwell at the heart of a
magnetically explosion in space, known as reconnection, we show from
our Cluster data in study in
Letters. See also our press release.
- Oct 2010: We contribute to a study in
Science showing th
at pulsating aurora is caused by waves in space known as chorus emissions. See also the
National Geographic news feature.
- March 2010: Pressure fronts in the solar wind help erode the
atmosphere of Mars, we show in Geophysical
See also our press
- July 2009: How is the solar wind heated? Part of the answer is
turbulence, as shown in a study in Physical Review Letters. See also NASA's and ESA's press releases.
- March 2009: Is space turbulent? Yes! In a study
Review Letters, we present detailed Cluster studies of turbulence
in space. See ESA's press
- Dec 2008: We have tracked a previously invisible ion wind from
the Earth far out in space using Cluster. Published in Nature
Geoscience, presented in our press
release and in an ESA Cluster
- March 2007: We found that magnetic field reconnection occurs in
turbulent plasmas, too. Published in Nature Physics,
presented in an ESA news
- Nov 2006: We reveal the inner structure of a region of space
close to a magnetic reconnection site. Published in Physical Review
- Aug 2005: We discovered Alfvén vortices, a kind of
whirlpools in space, near the boundary of the Earth's magnetosphere.
Published in Nature, presented in
release and in an ESA news feature.
- May 2005: On arrival at Saturn, our Langmuir probe on Cassini
immediately detected cold plasma around Titan and plasma interaction
with ring dust. Published in Science and Geophysical Research
- 4 x Cluster
exploring Earth's magnetosphere on a flotilla of four ESA spacecraft,
- Cassini --
launched by NASA in 1997,
exploring the environment of Saturn since June 2004, with our Langmuir
- Rosetta --
launched by ESA in 2004, now carrying our instrument around comet
- 3 x Swarm
-- ESA's three satellites for study
of the geomagnetic field, launched in November 22, 2013. We provide instruments to
plasma density and temperature in the Earth's ionosphere.
instruments in space, no longer operational:
- 4 x MMS -- Another four-spacecraft flotilla: NASA's Magnetospheric
MultiScale mission, for launch in March 2015, for which we provide sensor
coating and test equipment for the
electric field instruments built by the University of New Hampshire and the Royal
Institute of Technology (KTH). More
info on the SMART instrument suite for MMS at SwRI.
- BepiColombo -- an ESA-JAXA (Europe-Japan) mission to Mercury, where we are
responsible for the electronics and probe surfaces
for the MEFISTO sensors of the PWI instrument on the magnetospheric orbiter. Launch 2016, orbit insertion
at Mercury 2024. More
on Bepi and MEFISTO at KTH.
- Solar Orbiter -- ESAs mission to investigate the Sun at close distance, for launch in 2017. We are building parts
of the RPW instrument to study the solar wind close to its source.
- JUICE -- ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission. Together with a large team of European, Japanese and American laboratories, we will provide instrumentation for investigating waves, fields and plasmas in the Jovian system. Launch 2022, arrival at Jupiter in 2030.
-- orbited the moon with our Langmuir probes onboard,
launched September 2003, impact landing on the moon 3 September 2006
microsatellite (only 29 kg) carrying our LINDA instrument to the
upper ionosphere 1998-1999
- Freja -- detailed
of the Earth's upper ionosphere 1992-1996, including our wave
- Viking --
magnetosphere 1986-1987 by means of our wave instrument (and of course
other instruments as well)
- Numerous sounding rockets during the sixties, seventies, and eighties.
Engineers and computing support:
- Mats André, PhD, professor -- head of research
- David Andrews, PhD -- postdoc, Mars aeronomy
- Jan Bergman, PhD -- JUICE RPWI project manager
- Hugo Breuillard, PhD -- postdoc (turbulence, STORM)
- Stephan Buchert, PhD -- magnetospheric and ionospheric science, Swarm
- Niklas Edberg, PhD -- scientist (Cassini, Rosetta)
- Anders Eriksson, PhD -- scientist (Rosetta, Cluster)
- Daniel Graham, PhD -- postdoc (Cluster)
- Yuri Khotyaintsev,
PhD -- Cluster, MMS
- Hermann Opgenoorth, PhD, professor -- magnetospheres and ionospheres at Earth and other planets
- Laurianne Palin, PhD -- postdoc (Cluster, Swarm)
- Sergio Toledo-Redondo, PhD -- postdoc (Cluster)
- Andris Vaivads,
PhD, docent -- Solar Orbiter lead CoI, Cluster, MMS
- Erik Vigren, PhD -- postdoc (Cassini, Rosetta)
- Jan-Erik Wahlund, PhD, docent -- JUICE RPWI PI, Cassini
RPWS-LP lead CoI, BepiColombo lead CoI
- Emiliya Yordanova, PhD -- research assistant (Cluster)
students (see also our PhD projects page):
- Vicki Cripps, research engineer -- PA/QA
- Reine Gill, research engineer -- flight s/w, s/c operations
- Sven-Erik Jansson, senior research engineer -- digital electronics
- Erik Johansson, research engineer -- Cassini and Rosetta data handling
- Jan Karlsson, programmer -- data archiving and computer systems
- Thomas Nilsson, research engineer -- Swarm and MMS data handling
- Walter Puccio, senior research engineer -- electronics
- Farid Shiva, research engineer -- electronics design and
- Lennart Åhlén, senior research engineer -- analog
- Yamuna Phal, research engineer -- analog electronics
(see also our student projects page):
- Ilka Engelhardt -- plasma and dust around icy moons and comets (Cassini/Rosetta)
- Elin Eriksson -- energy conversion in space plasma (Cluster)
- Mika (Madeleine) Holmberg -- the space environment of Saturn (Cassini)
- Andreas Johlander -- particle energization at shocks (Cluster)
- Cecilia Norgren -- reconnection studies (Cluster)
- Elias Odelstad -- cometary plasma environment (Rosetta)
- Oleg Shebanits -- pre-biotic conditions at Titan (Cassini)
Some former team
- Karin Ågren -- did her PhD with us 2012 (Cassini)
- Rico Behlke
-- defended his PhD
thesis in December 2005, now at Svalbard
- Rolf Boström, professor (retired) -- Cassini,
- Tobia Carozzi -- PhD, former scientist and ISDAT maintainer,
at the Onsala Space Observatory
- Chris Cully -- research assistant (2007-2012), now at the
- Liza Dackborn -- former system programmer, retired 2013
- Andrei Divin -- postdoc 2012-2014
- Erik Engwall -- PhD student (Cluster) 2003-2009, defended
thesis 20 May 2009, now at Scania.
- Huishan Fu, PhD -- postdoc (Cluster) 2010-2012, now at Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China
- Philippe Garnier, PhD -- Cassini post-doc 2007-2008, now at
- Hans Gunnarsson -- former
- Georg Gustafsson, professor (retired) -- former Viking V4L
Cluster EFW PI
- Jan-Ove Hall, PhD -- former visiting scientist, now at FOI
- Bengt Holback -- former Viking V4L and Freja F4 PI
- Gunnar Holmgren -- former scientist, now
- Anita Kullen -- post doc,
auroral and magnetospheric physics, 2005-2008, now at KTH.
- Shiyong Huang -- guest researcher from Wuhan University (Cluster, 2011-2012)
- Kristoffer Hultgren -- student project (2009), now PhD student at
- Tiera Laitinen, PhD -- post doc (Cluster) 2008-2009, now at
- Sara Lindgren -- project student (2010), now PhD student in astrophysics at Uppsala University
- Tomas Lindstedt --
licentiate thesis in December 2009,
now at ABB in Ludvika.
- Meghan Mella, PhD -- postdoc 2012-2014 (Cluster/MAARBLE)
- Ronan Modolo, PhD -- former postdoc and research assistant, now at CETP-IPSL
- Michiko Morooka, fil dr -- postdoc (Cluster), guest scientist (Cassini), now
at LASP, University of Colorado, Boulder
- Annika Olsson, PhD, docent -- now project manager at Uppsala
- Frederic Pitout -- did his PhD (2002)
with us, now at Laboratoire
de Planétologie, Grenoble
Retinò -- did his PhD (2007)
with us, now at the Laboratoire
de Physique des Plasmas, France
- Lisa Rosenqvist -- did her PhD (2008)
with us, now at FOI
- Fouad Sahraoui,
PhD -- visiting scientist from CETP
Vélizy, France, spring 2005
- Shotaro Sakai -- guest PhD student (Cassini) from Hokkaido University, spring 2013
- Muhammad Shafiq -- post doc 2008-2010 (Cassini)
- Gabriella Stenberg, PhD -- post doc (Cluster) 2005-2009, now
at IRF Kiruna
Sundkvist -- did his PhD
(2005) with us, now at Space
Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
- Harley Thomas -- mechanical engineering, retired 2009
- Anders Tjulin -- did his PhD
(2003) with us, now at EISCAT,
- Tatjana Zivkovic, PhD -- postdoc (Cluster/ECLAT)
last modified on Monday, 23-Feb-2015 17:05:34 CET