Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón
Theory of a probe in a strong magnetic field.
"The physics of fluids", v. 13
An asymptotic analysis of the Langmuir-probe problem in a quiescent, fully ionized plasma in a strong magnetic field is performed, for electron cyclotron radius and Debye length much smaller than probe radius, and this not larger than either ion cyclotron radius or mean free path. It is found that the electric potential, which is not confined to a sheath, controls the diffusion far from the probe; inside
the magnetic tube bounded by the probe cross section the potential overshoots to a large value before decaying to its value in the body of the plasma. The electron current is independent of the shape of the body along the field and increases with ion temperature; due to the overshoot in the potential, (1) the current at negative voltages does not vary exponentially, (2) its magnitude is strongly reduced by the field, and (3) the usual sharp knee at space potential, disappears. In the regions of the C-V diagram
studied the ion current is negligible or unaffected by the field. Some numerical results are presented.The theory, which fails beyond certain positive voltage, fields useful results for weak fields, too.