Download e-book for kindle: Q Machines by Robert Motley (Auth.)

By Robert Motley (Auth.)

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Ion distribution function measured with an energy analyzer [60]. The plasma potential is obtained from the secondary peak created by charge exchange collisions. 5. ION ENERGY DISTRIBUTIONS / 3 9 A number of factors combine to limit the usefulness of the energy analyzer to plasma concentrations below about 10 10 cm~ 3 . First, space charge limitations are significant for the massive cesium ions unless the spacing between grid and collector is smaller than 1 mm. A conservative upper limit to the current density allowed by space charge may be estimated from the Langmuir-Childs relation for current flow between plane parallel plates.

This result will be valid only if the probe surface does not intercept a significant fraction of the plasma particles. In general, the probe currents will depend not only on the probe size, but also on the degree of confinement of the plasma in the magnetic trap. No treatment of probes, however concise, is complete without some advice on experimental practice. Probes, usually made of a tungsten wire partly covered with an alumina sleeve, have a limited lifetime in a vacuum chamber. Their usefulness comes to an end either when the probe tip becomes coated with an insulating material (from the pumps or the hot plates), or when alkali layers make the surface of the insulator conducting.

If the electrons were massless and their streaming were not impeded by collisions, they would establish a Boltzmann equilibrium. Density and potential would then be in phase; only an oscillatory motion of the plasma in the x and y directions would result. If, on the other hand, electrons cannot flow instantaneously, the density and potential may not be in phase. In most circumstances the phase between density and potential will be such as to increase the oscillation amplitude, resulting in instability.

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