TITLE

Transit time instabilities in an inverted fireball. II. Mode jumping and nonlinearities

AUTHOR(S)
Stenzel, R. L.; Gruenwald, J.; Fonda, B.; Ionita, C.; Schrittwieser, R.
PUB. DATE
January 2011
SOURCE
Physics of Plasmas;Jan2011, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p012105
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
A fireball is formed inside a highly transparent spherical grid immersed in a dc discharge plasma. The ambient plasma acts as a cathode and the positively biased grid as an anode. A strong nearly current-free double layer separates the two plasmas. Electrons are accelerated into the fireball, ionize, and establish a discharge plasma with plasma potential near the grid potential. Ions are ejected from the fireball. Since electrons are lost at the same rate as ions, most electrons accelerated into the fireball just pass through it. Thus, the electron distribution contains radially counterstreaming electrons. High-frequency oscillations are excited with rf period given by the electron transit time through the fireball. Since the frequency is well below the electron plasma frequency, no eigenmodes other than a beam space-charge wave exists. The instability is an inertial transit-time instability similar to the sheath-plasma instability or the reflex vircator instability. In contrast to vircators, there is no electron reflection from a space-charge layer but counterstreaming arises from spherical convergence and divergence of electrons. While the basic instability properties have been presented in a companion paper [R. L. Stenzel et al., Phys. Plasmas 18, 012104 (2011)], the present paper focuses on observed mode jumping and nonlinear effects. The former produce frequency jumps and different potential profiles, the latter produce harmonics associated with electron bunching at large amplitudes. In situ probe measurements are presented and interpreted.
ACCESSION #
57679427

 

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