Investigation via numerical simulation of limiting currents in the presence of dielectric loads

Baedke, W. C.
April 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Apr2009, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p043104
Academic Journal
An investigation of the space-charge-limited currents for unneutralized relativistic particle beams drifting through a dielectrically loaded cylindrical conductor is presented. The first limiting current expression investigated assumes a uniform axial velocity profile, is commonly found in the literature, and has been applied to solid and annular beams with and without a dielectric present. The second limiting current expression investigated is self-consistent and is developed for annular beams in the presence of a dielectric load provided that the beams’ inner and outer radii are less than the dielectric inner radius. Comparing both of these expressions to particle-in-cell simulations shows that the first expression under predicts the limiting current by no more than 20% and no less than 10% for all geometries and relativistic mass factors considered. It is also shown that the second expression over predicts the limiting current for all scenarios investigated by as much as 20% and in certain cases only a few percent. In addition, estimates for the accumulated charge densities at the vacuum-dielectric interface are presented and the possibility of breakdown within the dielectric is addressed.


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