Wave propagation and noncollisional heating in neutral loop and helicon discharges

Celik, Y.; Crintea, D. L.; Luggenhölscher, D.; Czarnetzki, U.; Ishijima, T.; Sugai, H.
February 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Feb2011, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p022107
Academic Journal
Heating mechanisms in two types of magnetized low pressure rf (13.56 MHz) discharges are investigated: a helicon discharge and a neutral loop discharge. Radial B-dot probe measurements demonstrate that the neutral loop discharge is sustained by helicon waves as well. Axial B-dot probe measurements reveal standing wave and beat patterns depending on the dc magnetic field strength and plasma density. In modes showing a strong wave damping, the plasma refractive index attains values around 100, leading to electron-wave interactions. In strongly damped modes, the radial plasma density profiles are mainly determined by power absorption of the propagating helicon wave, whereas in weakly damped modes, inductive coupling dominates. Furthermore, an azimuthal diamagnetic drift is identified. Measurements of the helicon wave phase demonstrate that initial plane wave fronts are bent during their axial propagation due to the inhomogeneous density profile. A developed analytical standing wave model including Landau damping reproduces very well the damping of the axial helicon wave field. This comparison underlines the theory whereupon Landau damping of electrons traveling along the field lines at speeds close to the helicon phase velocity is the main damping mechanism in both discharges.


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