Existing electron-wall interaction models predict that secondary electron emission in Hall thrusters is significant and that the near-wall sheaths are space charge saturated. The experimental electron-wall collision frequency is computed using plasma parameters measured in a laboratory Hall thruster. In spite of qualitative similarities between the measured and predicted dependencies of the maximum electron temperature on the discharge voltage, the deduced electron-wall collision frequency for high discharge voltages is much lower than the theoretical value obtained for space charge saturated sheath regime, but larger than the wall recombination frequency. The observed electron temperature saturation appears to be directly associated with a decrease of the Joule heating rather than with the enhancement of the electron energy loss at the walls due to a strong secondary electron emission. Another interesting experimental result is related to the near-field plasma plume, where electron energy balance appears to be independent on the magnetic field.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics