The Genesis Solar Wind Concentrator: Flight and Post-Flight Conditions and Modeling of Instrumental Fractionation

Wiens, Roger C.; Reisenfeld, Daniel B.; Olinger, Chad; Wurz, Peter; Heber, Veronika S.; Burnett, Donald S. (2013). The Genesis Solar Wind Concentrator: Flight and Post-Flight Conditions and Modeling of Instrumental Fractionation. Space science reviews, 175(1-4), pp. 93-124. Kluwer Academic Publishers 10.1007/s11214-013-9961-1

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The Genesis mission Solar Wind Concentrator was built to enhance fluences of solar wind by an average of 20x over the 2.3 years that the mission exposed substrates to the solar wind. The Concentrator targets survived the hard landing upon return to Earth and were used to determine the isotopic composition of solar-wind—and hence solar—oxygen and nitrogen. Here we report on the flight operation of the instrument and on simulations of its performance. Concentration and fractionation patterns obtained from simulations are given for He, Li, N, O, Ne, Mg, Si, S, and Ar in SiC targets, and are compared with measured concentrations and isotope ratios for the noble gases. Carbon is also modeled for a Si target. Predicted differences in instrumental fractionation between elements are discussed. Additionally, as the Concentrator was designed only for ions ≤22 AMU, implications of analyzing elements as heavy as argon are discussed. Post-flight simulations of instrumental fractionation as a function of radial position on the targets incorporate solar-wind velocity and angular distributions measured in flight, and predict fractionation patterns for various elements and isotopes of interest. A tighter angular distribution, mostly due to better spacecraft spin stability than assumed in pre-flight modeling, results in a steeper isotopic fractionation gradient between the center and the perimeter of the targets. Using the distribution of solar-wind velocities encountered during flight, which are higher than those used in pre-flight modeling, results in elemental abundance patterns slightly less peaked at the center. Mean fractionations trend with atomic mass, with differences relative to the measured isotopes of neon of +4.1±0.9 ‰/amu for Li, between -0.4 and +2.8 ‰/amu for C, +1.9±0.7‰/amu for N, +1.3±0.4 ‰/amu for O, -7.5±0.4 ‰/amu for Mg, -8.9±0.6 ‰/amu for Si, and -22.0±0.7 ‰/amu for S (uncertainties reflect Monte Carlo statistics). The slopes of the fractionation trends depend to first order only on the relative differential mass ratio, Δ m/ m. This article and a companion paper (Reisenfeld et al. 2012, this issue) provide post-flight information necessary for the analysis of the Genesis solar wind samples, and thus serve to complement the Space Science Review volume, The Genesis Mission (v. 105, 2003).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Wurz, Peter


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics




Kluwer Academic Publishers




Cléa Serpollier

Date Deposited:

10 Jul 2014 16:53

Last Modified:

08 Oct 2015 09:30

Publisher DOI:



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