Momentum imparted to a lateral wall of a compact inductively coupled plasma thruster is numerically investigated for argon and xenon gases by a particle-in-cell simulation with Monte Carlo collisions (PIC-MCC). Axial plasma momentum lost to a lateral wall is clearly shown when axial depletion of the neutrals is enhanced, which is in qualitative agreement with the result in a recent experiment using a helicon plasma source [Takahashi et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 195001 (2015)]. The PIC-MCC calculations demonstrate that the neutral depletion causes an axially asymmetric profile of the plasma density and potential, leading to axial ion acceleration and the non-negligible net axial force exerted to the lateral wall in the opposite direction of the thrust.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics