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Review on adhesion of particulate contaminants on space observatories

Presentation #304.05 in the session Space-based Instruments — iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Review on adhesion of particulate contaminants on space observatories

Particulate contamination continues to be of vital interest for space telescopes and accompanying components such as starshades. It is reported that optical surfaces of space telescopes may be contaminated significantly despite cleaning. The primary mirror of the HST was 0.7% contaminated after cleaning. Adhesion forces affecting these contaminants are governed by the materials interacting and the environment in which they interact. While van der Waals adsorption forces will be present, contact electrification, otherwise known as triboelectric charging, has been shown to play a significant role in covering equipment on airless bodies like the moon and asteroids with dust. Earth-originated particulates, such as silica, alumina, titanium dioxide and organics, may not exhibit high triboelectric charging at first, but may become more charged as they are exposed to the solar wind and VUV light in the space environment. We review recent literature on triboelectric charging, its effects on equipment on airless bodies, and discuss the implications that the effect may have on optically-sensitive flagship missions.

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