A leading method of propelling plasma is through the electrical acceleration of ions through a cloud of rotating electrons, where the rotating electrons are held in place axially by a magnetic filter. However, in certain parameter regimes, devices based on this propulsion principle appear to work far better than they should, at least based on the accepted design principles. This unexpected fortunate performance is explained here by self-organizing features of supersonically rotating electron plasma. In fact, several ion acceleration mechanisms that narrow the plume can be identified. These useful acceleration mechanisms, which persist even as the electron temperature vanishes, are newly identified here and are common to rotating electron plasmas in a variety of settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Condensed Matter Physics