Our pulsed fast oxygen atom source has been used extensively over the last 9 yr to investigate the effects of ambient oxygen atoms that impact materials placed in LEO. During this period, we have irradiated over 2000 material samples with 8 km/s oxygen atoms generated in our source. Typical irradiance level is 3 × 1020 O atoms/cm2 although some materials have been irradiated to fluence levels as high as 6 × 1021 O atoms/cm2. In this paper, we review the operating principles and characteristics of our source along with the diagnostic and handling procedures appropriate to material testing. We then present representative data on the velocity dependence of oxygen atom erosion rates (the PSI source provides oxygen atoms tunable over the velocity range of 5 to 12 km/s) as well as the dependence on material temperature. Specific examples of nonlinear oxidative effects related to surface contamination and test duration will also be provided.

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