Measurements of Magnetic Field Fluctuations for Plasma Wave Investigation by the Search Coil Magnetometers (SCM) Onboard Bepicolombo Mio (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter)

Satoshi Yagitani, Mitsunori Ozaki, Fouad Sahraoui, Laurent Mirioni, Malik Mansour, Gerard Chanteur, Christophe Coillot, Sebastien Ruocco, Vincent Leray, Mitsuru Hikishima, Dominique Alison, Olivier Le Contel, Hirotsugu Kojima, Yoshiya Kasahara, Yasumasa Kasaba, Takashi Sasaki, Takahiro Yumoto, Yoshinari Takeuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the design and performance of the search coil magnetometers (SCM), which are part of the Plasma Wave Investigation (PWI) instrument onboard the BepiColombo/Mio spacecraft (Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter), which will measure the electric field, plasma waves and radio waves for the first time in Mercury’s plasma environment. The SCM consists of two low-frequency orthogonal search coil sensors (LF-SC) measuring two components of the magnetic field (0.1 Hz – 20 kHz) in the spacecraft spin plane, and a dual-band search coil sensor (DB-SC) picking up the third component along the spin axis at both low-frequencies (LF: 0.1 Hz – 20 kHz) and high-frequencies (HF: 10 kHz – 640 kHz). The DB-SC and the two LF-SC sensors form a tri-axial configuration at the tip of a 4.6-m coilable mast (MAST-SC) extending from the spacecraft body, to minimize artificial magnetic field contamination emitted by the spacecraft electronics. After the successful launch of the spacecraft on 20 October 2018, an initial function check for the SCM was conducted. The nominal function and performance of the sensors and preamplifiers were confirmed, even with the MAST-SC being retracted and stowed in the spacecraft body, resulting in the detection of large interference signals likely from spacecraft electronics. The MAST-SC is scheduled for deployment after the Mercury orbit insertion of Mio in 2025, allowing the SCM to make the first higher frequency measurements of magnetic fluctuations in the Hermean magnetosphere and exosphere, and the local solar wind. These measurements will contribute to the investigation of fundamental problems in the Hermean plasma environment, including turbulence, magnetic reconnection, wave-particle interactions and particle acceleration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1


  • BepiColombo
  • Exosphere
  • Magnetic field fluctuation
  • Magnetosphere
  • Mercury
  • Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)
  • Mio
  • Plasma wave
  • Radio wave
  • Search coil
  • Solar wind
  • Turbulence


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