Plasma filamentation is induced by an external magnetic field in an atmospheric discharge using intense microwaves. A discrete structure is obtained at low ambient pressure if a strong magnetic field of more than 1 T is applied, due to the suppression of electron diffusion, whereas a diffusive pattern is generated with no external field. Applying a magnetic field can slow the discharge front propagation due to magnetic confinement of the electron transport. If the resonance conditions are satisfied for electron cyclotron resonance and its higher harmonics, the propagation speed increases because the heated electrons easily ionize neutral particles. The streamer velocity and the pattern of the microwave plasma are positively controlled by adjusting two parameters - the electron diffusion coefficient and the ionization frequency - through the resonance process and magnetic confinement, and hot, dense filamentary plasma can be concentrated in a compact volume to reduce energy loss in a plasma device like a microwave rocket.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)