Digital Fields Board

The Digital Fields Board (DFB) was developed to perform the spectral processing for electric fields instruments on Parker Solar Probe, THEMIS and the Van Allen probes. It is also in development for the future LuSEE mission to study the lunar surface.

Parker Solar Probe DFB: The PSP Fields Experiment will make direct measurements of electric and magnetic fields, radio emissions, and shock waves that course through the Sun’s atmospheric plasma. The experiment also serves as a giant dust detector, registering voltage signatures when specks of space dust hit anywhere on the exposed surface area of the spacecraft. The DFB will process electric field data and search coil magnetometer data up to 64 kHz. The board will provide analog and digital filtering of these signals, digitize these electric and magnetic field signals, perform spectral and cross spectral calculations, and act as a dust detector by counting voltage spikes.

THEMIS DFB: THEMIS is a constellation mission consisting of 5 satellites in different orbits together with a ground array of magnetometers and auroral cameras located in North America. The outermost satellites will be as far away as 30 Earth radii (200,000 km). The THEMIS DFB and the Search Coil Magnetometer (SCM) provide data that represent the electric and magnetic wave power in bands from DC up to 8 kHz, plus a high-frequency electric field band from 30 kHz to 500 kHz. Additionally, the DFB filters and digitizes the analog signals from other instruments.

Van Allen Probes DFB: The Van Allen Probes Electric Field and Waves suite (EFW) studies the electric fields in near-Earth space that energize radiation particles and modify the structure of the inner magnetosphere. The investigation is providing an understanding of the electric fields associated with particle energization, scattering and transport, and the role of the large-scale convection electric field in modifying the structure of the inner magnetosphere. The DFB provides the bulk of the signal processing for the EFW. It provides analog and digital filtering, digitizes electric and magnetic field signals, performs spectral and cross-spectral calculations, and performs on-board coordinate transformation of the electric fields into magnetic field-aligned coordinates.


Science Target:

Sun, Earth's Magnetosphere

Science Focus:

Magnetosphere, Planetary Magnetosphere, Solar Physics, Space Plasmas, Space Weather, Van Allen Belts

Instrument Type:

In situ: Fields