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Anthony Swenson Thesis Defense


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Anthony Swenson

The Field-Programmable
Gate Array Design of the Gridded Retarding
Ion Distribution Sensor

Thursday, August 10
10:00 AM • ENLAB 149B (ECE Conference Room)

Anthony Swenson

Thesis Defense
Candidate for Masters in Electric Engineering

Advisor - Ryan Davidson, 435-797-7049

Electrical and Computer Engineering Utah State University


This thesis project is concerned with two instruments that are used to measure plasma in the low-Earth environment. These two instruments are the Retarding Potential Analyzer (RPA), and the Ion Drift Meter (IDM). Work has been done to combine the functionality from both of these instruments into one unit suitable for a small satellite in terms of size, power, and mass. An electrical and mechanical design has been completed to this end and this new instrument is called the Gridded Retarding Ion Distribution Sensor (GRIDS). The focus of this thesis is completing a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) design for this instrument.

This document presents the design of the FPGA code along with testing of that code. The design includes two modes of operation, referred to as the 50/50 mode and the 10 Hz mode. Also, descriptions of various systems critical to proper instrument function, such as the data output system and instrument ranging system, are included. Testing shows that the instrument performs as desired.