Articles | Volume 25, issue 9
02 Oct 2007
 | 02 Oct 2007

The measurements of light high-energy ions in NINA-2 experiment

A. Leonov, M. Cyamukungu, J. Cabrera, P. Leleux, Gh. Grégoire, S. Benck, V. Mikhailov, A. Bakaldin, A. Galper, S. Koldashov, S. Voronov, M. Casolino, M. P. De Pascale, P. Picozza, R. Sparvoli, and M. Ricci

Abstract. The flux of energetic light ions at low altitude is both an important input and output for self-consistent calculations of albedo particles resulting from the interaction of trapped and cosmic ray particles, with the upper atmosphere. In addition, data on the flux of light ions are needed to evaluate radiation damages on space-borne instruments and on space mission crews. In spite of that, sources of data on the flux of energetic ions at LEO are roughly limited to the AP-8 model, CREME/CREME96 codes and the SAMPEX, NOAA/TIROS satellites. The existing and operational European SAC-C/ICARE and PROBA-1/SREM instruments could also be potential sources for proton data at LEO. Although AP-8 and SAMPEX/PSB97 may be publicly accessed through the SPENVIS, they exhibit an order of magnitude difference in low altitude proton fluxes and they do not contain helium fluxes. Therefore, improved light ion radiation models are still needed.

In this paper we present a procedure to identify and measure the energy of ions that are not stopped in the NINA-2 instrument. Moreover, problems related to particles that cross the instrument in the opposite direction are addressed and shown to be a possible cause of particle misidentification. Measuring fluxes of low abundance elements like energetic helium ions requires a good characterisation of all possible sources of backgrounds in the detector. Hints to determine the several contributions to the background are presented herein and may be applied to extract an order of magnitude of energetic ions fluxes from existing data sets, while waiting for dedicated high performance instruments.