Ion energy distribution functions downstream of the source exit in magnetically expanding low-pressure plasmas are experimentally investigated for four source tube diameters ranging from about 5 to 15 cm. The magnetic-field threshold corresponding to a transition from a simple expanding plasma to a double layer-containing plasma is observed to increase with a decrease in the source tube diameter. The results demonstrate that for the four geometries, the double layer and the accelerated ion beam form when the ion Larmour radius in the source becomes smaller than the source tube radius, i.e., when the ions become magnetized in the source tube.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)