Switching of low density diode plasmas

Waisman, E. M.; Steen, P. G.; Parks, D. E.; Wilson, A.
June 1985
Applied Physics Letters;6/1/1985, Vol. 46 Issue 11, p1045
Academic Journal
The switching action of low density injected carbon plasmas is investigated by a numerical collisionless two-dimensional electromagnetic particle simulation. The plasma switch is considered in a planar vacuum transmission line with input current per unit length ramped at 240 A/cm ns during 10 ns, and short circuit output. The calculations, done with C+ ions at 4×1012/cm3, exhibit switching of the current from the plasma switch to the short circuit load. At early times (1–2 ns) a sheath of positive charge forms at the cathode by depletion of the plasma electrons. The electric fields at the cathode are large enough to explain the formation of a denser cathode plasma. The mechanism of switching appears to be, for this density and load conditions, the magnetic limiting of drifting electrons. The ion motion seen plays an insignificant role in this particular case.


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