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Current collection by an active spherical electrode in an unmagnetized plasma
Ahedo Galilea, Eduardo and Martínez-Sánchez, Manuel and Sanmartín Losada, Juan Ramón
Current collection by an active spherical electrode in an unmagnetized plasma.
"Physics od fluids B", v. 4
A theoretical model for the steady-state response of anodic contactors that emit a plasma current Ii and collect electrons from a collisionless, unmagnetized plasma is
presented. The use of a (kinetic) monoenergetic population for the attracted species, well known in passive probe theory, gives both accuracy and tractability to the theory.
The monoenergetic population is proved to behave like an isentropic fluid with radial plus centripetal motion, allowing direct comparisons with ad hoc fluid models. Also, a modification of the original monoenergetic equations permits analysis of contactors operating in orbit-limited conditions. Besides that, the theory predicts that, only for plasma emissions above certain threshold current a presheath/double layer/core structure for the potential is formed (the core mode), while for emissions below that threshold, a plasma contactor behaves exactly as a positive-ion emitter with a presheath/sheath structure (the no-core mode). Ion emitters are studied as a particular case. Emphasis is placed on obtaining dimensionless charts and approximate asymptotic laws of the current-voltage characteristic.
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