Neutral Atom Imaging

Neutral Atom Image

Neutral Atom Imaging (NAI) is a relative new technique that used on the IMAGE spacecraft to image magnetospheric and ionospheric plasma populations. Neutral Atom Imaging works thanks to a process known as charge exchange. The charge exchange neutrals can be remotely imaged and the data deconvolved to determine the original ion population.

A number of different sensor technologies are necessary to detect the incident neutrals. These allow magnetospheric and ionospheric populations such as the ring current, plasmasphere, and dayside cusps to be imaged on timescales of a few minutes. These images will revolutionize our understanding of magnetospheric and ionospheric particle populations. They will allow us, for the first time, to understand the global structure of, and the interaction between regions.

IMAGE will utilize a suite of three NAI imagers to provide energy and composition resolved images at energies from 0.01 eV to 200 keV. These imagers are the LENA, MENA, and HENA instruments.

Link to the LENA Team members page (registered users only).

Mark Smith,
James L. Green,

October 9, 1996
Last updated: 21 December 1998, EVB II