In a degenerate plasma, the rates of electron processes are much smaller than the classical model would predict, affecting the efficiencies of current generation by external noninductive means, such as by electromagnetic radiation or intense ion beams. For electron-based mechanisms, the current-drive efficiency is higher than the classical prediction by more than a factor of 6 in a degenerate hydrogen plasma, mainly because the electron-electron collisions do not quickly slow down fast electrons. Moreover, electrons much faster than thermal speeds are more readily excited without exciting thermal electrons. In ion-based mechanisms of current drive, the efficiency is likewise enhanced due to the degeneracy effects, since the electron stopping power on slow ion beams is significantly reduced.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy