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Title: The plasma properties and electron emission characteristics of near-zero differential resistance of hollow cathode-based plasma contactors with a discharge chamber

The formation of electron emission-bias voltage (I-V) characteristics of near-zero differential resistance in the cathodic plasma contactor for bare electrodynamic tether applications, based on a hollow cathode embedded in a ring-cusp ionization stage, is studied. The existence of such an I-V regime is important to achieve low impedance performance without being affected by the space plasma properties for a cathodic plasma contactor. Experimental data on the plasma structure and properties downstream from the ionization stage are presented as functions of the xenon flow rate and the electron emission current. The electrons were emitted from the cathode to the cylindrical vacuum chamber wall (r = 0.9 m) under ≈10{sup −5 }Torr of vacuum pressure. The ring-cusp configuration selected for the plasma contactor created a 125-Gauss axial field near the cathode orifice, along with a large-volume 50-Gauss magnitude pocket in the stage. A baseline ion energy cost of ≈300 eV/ion was measured in the ionization stage when no electrons were emitted to the vacuum chamber wall. In addition, the anode fall growth limited the maximum propellant unitization to below ≈75% in the discharge loss curves for this ion stage. Detailed measurements on the plasma properties were carried out for the no-electron emission and 3 A emission conditions. Themore » experimental data are compared with 1-D models, and the effectiveness of the model is discussed. The four key issues that played important roles in the process of building the near-zero different resistance I-V regime are: a significant amount of ionization by the emission electrons, a decrease in the number of reflected electrons in the plume, the electron-temperature increment, and low initial ion energy at the source outlet.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ;  [2]
  1. School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081 (China)
  2. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22303806
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 8; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; CYLINDRICAL CONFIGURATION; ELECTRIC CONDUCTIVITY; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; ELECTRON EMISSION; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; ENERGY ACCOUNTING; FLOW RATE; HOLLOW CATHODES; IMPEDANCE; IONIZATION; IONS; LOSSES; PLASMA; XENON