Effects of Neutral Density on Energetic Ions Produced Near High-Current Hollow Cathodes
- Kameyama, Ikuya
- Oct. 1997.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- Energy distributions of ion current from high-current, xenon hollow cathodes, which are essential information to understand erosion phenomena observed in high-power ion thrusters, were obtained using an electrostatic energy analyzer (ESA). The effects of ambient pressure and external flow rate introduced immediately downstream of hollow cathode on ion currents with energies greater than that associated with the cathode-to-anode potential difference were investigated. The results were analyzed to determine the changes in the magnitudes of ion currents to the ESA at various energies. Either increasing the ambient pressure or adding external flow induces an increase in the distribution of ion currents with moderate energies (epsilon less than 25 to 35 eV) and a decrease in the distribution for high energies (epsilon greater than 25 to 35 eV). The magnitude of the current distribution increase in the moderate energy range is greater for a cathode equipped with a toroidal keeper than for one without a keeper, but the distribution in the high energy range does not seem to be affected by a keeper. An MHD model, which has been proposed to describe energetic-ion production mechanism in hollow cathode at high discharge currents, was developed to describe these effects. The results show, however, that this model involves no mechanism by which a significant increase of ion current could occur at any energy. It was found, on the other hand, that the potential-hill model of energetic ion production, which assumes existence of a local maximum of plasma potential, could explain combined increases in the currents of ions with moderate energies and decreases in high energy ions due to increased neutral atom density using a charge-exchange mechanism. The existing, simplified version of the potential-hill model, however, shows poor quantitative agreement with measured ion-current-energy-distribution changes induced by neutral density changes.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19980005610., NAS 1.26:204154., NASA-CR-204154., and E-10945.
- No Copyright.
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