The azimuthal plasma current in a magnetic nozzle of a radiofrequency plasma thruster is experimentally identified by measuring the plasma-induced magnetic field. The axial plasma momentum increases over about 20 cm downstream of the thruster exit due to the Lorentz force arising from the azimuthal current. The measured current shows that the azimuthal current is given by the sum of the electron diamagnetic drift and E×B drift currents, where the latter component decreases with an increase in the magnetic field strength; hence the azimuthal current approaches the electron diamagnetic drift one for the strong magnetic field. The Lorentz force calculated from the measured azimuthal plasma current and the radial magnetic field is smaller than the directly measured force exerted to the magnetic field, which indicates the existence of a non-negligible Lorentz force in the source tube.
|Journal||Plasma Sources Science and Technology|
|Publication status||Published - 2016 Aug 16|
- helicon thruster
- magnetic nozzle
- plasma current
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics