For the calibration of a solar wind charged ions for all elements from hydrogen up to iron are needed. Although sources for these ions have been available for some time, the special demands of space instrumentation (beam current, purity, stability, available beam time, and instrument accommodation) made it necessary to build a dedicated facility in house, which also alleviates many logistic problems encountered during calibration campaigns.
In addition, post-launch calibrations of flight-spare instruments will allow to improve the knowledge of the transmission function of presently in-use instrumentation, and thus even improve the data quality of already launched instruments.
The heart of the new calibration facility we built is an electron-cyclotron resonance (ECR) ion source operating at 2.45 GHz using only permanent magnets. This type of ion sources allows the production of highly charged metallic and non-metallic ions within the given constraints in power consumption and physical space available on our high-voltage terminal. The ECR ion source is installed on this terminal to allow for post-acceleration potentials of up to 100kV to achieve solar wind-like energies.