Laser induced fluorescence measurements of the cylindrical Hall thruster plume

R. Spektor, K. D. Diamant, E. J. Beiting, Y. Raitses, N. J. Fisch

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An investigation of a fully cylindrical Hall thruster was performed using laser induced fluorescence (LIF) to measure ion velocity profiles in the plume. The measurements confirm a previously reported 9% increase in the exhaust energy when the cathode keeper draws an excess current (overrun mode). Furthermore, the velocity directions in the plume remain relatively unchanged for the cusped and direct magnetic field configuration in both overrun and nonoverrun modes. Previously reported plume narrowing in the overrun mode was confirmed and found to be due to the shift of the acceleration and ionization regions toward the anode. The electric field inferred from the LIF measurements allowed calculation of the electron E×B drift. Close to the centerline of the thruster, electrons drift azimuthally with velocity decreasing away from the centerline, thus creating shear. This shear can be a source of plasma instabilities and influence electron transport. Further away from the centerline, electrons drift in the opposite direction with their velocity increasing with increasing radius. In that region, electrons rotate without shear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number093502
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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