Interferometer density measurements of a high-velocity plasmoid

Case, A.; Messer, S.; Bomgardner, R.; Witherspoon, F. D.
May 2010
Physics of Plasmas;May2010, Vol. 17 Issue 5, p053503
Academic Journal
The plasmoid produced by a half-scale contoured gap coaxial plasma accelerator using ablative polyethylene capillary plasma injectors is measured using a quadrature heterodyne HeNe interferometer. The plasmoid is found to have a sharp rise in density at the leading edge, with a gradual falloff after the peak density. For this early test series, an average bulk density of 5×1014 cm-3 is observed, with densities up to 8×1014 cm-3 seen on some shots. Although plasmoid mass is only about 58 μg due to the low current and injected mass used in these tests, good shot-to-shot repeatability is attained making analysis relatively straightforward, thus providing a solid foundation for interpreting future experimental results.


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