Precaution to remove the serious effect of electrode contamination in Langmuir probe experiments has not been taken in many space measurements because the effect is either not understood or ignored. We stress here that one should pay extra attention to the electrode contamination effect to get accurate and reliable plasma measurements so that the long time effort for sounding rocketsatellite missions does not end in vain or becomes less fruitful. In this paper, we describe two main features of voltage-current characteristic curves associated with the contaminated Langmuir probe, which are predicted from the equivalent circuit model, which we proposed in 1970s. We then show that fast sweeping dc Langmuir probes can give reliable results in the steady state regime. The fast sweeping probe can also give reliable results in transient situations such as satellite moves through plasma bubble in the ionosphere where the electron density drastically changes. This fact was first confirmed in our laboratory experiment.
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