Non-self-sustained glow discharge with electrostatic confinement of electrons sustained by a fast neutral molecule beam
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Experimental study of plasma produced at the nitrogen pressure 0.2–1 Pa in the chamber volume V ≈ 0.12 m3 as a result of injection into the chamber of a broad nitrogen molecule beam with 1–4 keV energy and 0.1–1 A equivalent current is carried out, and the study results are presented. Dependences of the plasma density distribution on the beam equivalent current I b , energy E b , and gas pressure p indicate a crucial role of fast molecules in gas ionization, and the probe characteristics reveal two groups of plasma electrons with the temperatures T e ∼ 0.4 eV and T e ∼ 16 eV. Immersion in plasma of an electrode isolated from the chamber and application to the electrode of a positive voltage U result in non-self-sustained discharge. When U changes from ∼0.5 to ∼1.5 V, the discharge current I rapidly rises to a certain value I*, and after that the rate of rise dI/dU drops by an order of magnitude. At U ∼ 10 V, the current I rises to I 0 ≈ 1.5I*, and dI/dU once again drops by an order of magnitude. Current I 0 specifies the number of electrons produced inside the chamber per second, and it grows up with E b , I b , and p. At U > 20 V, due to gas ionization by fast electrons emitted by the chamber and accelerated up to the energy ∼eU in the sheath between the plasma and the chamber walls, the current I rises again. When U grows up to ∼50 V, production of fast electrons with energies exceeding the ionization threshold begins inside the sheath, and the ionization intensity rises dramatically. At U > 150 V, contribution of fast electrons to gas ionization already exceeds the contribution of fast molecules, and the plasma density and its distribution homogeneity inside the chamber both grow up substantially. However, even in this case, the discharge is non-self-sustained, and only at U > 300 V it does not expire when the beam source is switched off.
KeywordsPlasma Physic Report Fast Electron Chamber Wall Nitrogen Pressure Beam Source
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