Two dimensional profiles of electron temperature are measured inside and downstream of a radiofrequency plasma thruster source having a magnetic nozzle and being immersed in vacuum. The temperature is estimated from the slope of the fully swept I-V characteristics of a Langmuir probe acquired at each spatial position and with the assumption of a Maxwellian distribution. The results show that the peripheral high temperature electrons in the magnetic nozzle originate from the upstream antenna location and are transported along the "connecting" magnetic field lines. Two-dimensional measurements of electron energy probability functions are also carried out in a second simplified laboratory device consisting of the source contiguously connected to the diffusion chamber: again the high temperature electrons are detected along the magnetic field lines intersecting the wall at the antenna location, even when the antenna location is shifted along the main axis. These results demonstrate that the peripheral energetic electrons in the magnetic nozzle mirror those created in the source tube.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics