Particle simulation of collision dynamics for ion beam injection into a rarefied gas

Giuliano, Paul N.; Boyd, Iain D.
March 2013
Physics of Plasmas;Mar2013, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p033505
Academic Journal
This study details a comparison of ion beam simulations with experimental data from a simplified plasma test cell in order to study and validate numerical models and environments representative of electric propulsion devices and their plumes. The simulations employ a combination of the direct simulation Monte Carlo and particle-in-cell methods representing xenon ions and atoms as macroparticles. An anisotropic collision model is implemented for momentum exchange and charge exchange interactions between atoms and ions in order to validate the post-collision scattering behaviors of dominant collision mechanisms. Cases are simulated in which the environment is either collisionless or non-electrostatic in order to prove that the collision models are the dominant source of low- and high-angle particle scattering and current collection within this environment. Additionally, isotropic cases are run in order to show the importance of anisotropy in these collision models. An analysis of beam divergence leads to better characterization of the ion beam, a parameter that requires careful analysis. Finally, suggestions based on numerical results are made to help guide the experimental design in order to better characterize the ion environment.


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