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Measurements of the asymmetric, dynamic sheath around a pulse biased sphere immersed in flowing metal plasma

Abstract

A long-probe technique was utilized to record the expansion and retreat of the dynamic sheath around a spherical substrate immersed in pulsed cathode arc metal plasma. Positively biased, long cylindrical probes were placed on the side and downstream of a negatively pulsed biased stainless steel sphere of 1" (25.4 mm) diameter. The amplitude and width of the negative high voltage pulses (HVP) were 2 kV, 5 kV, 10 kV, and 2 mu s, 4 mu s, 10 mu s, respectively. The variation of the probe (electron) current during the HVP is a direct measure for the sheath expansion and retreat. Maximum sheath sizes were determined for the different parameters of the HVP. The expected rarefaction zone behind the biased sphere (wake) due to the fast plasma flow was clearly established and quantified.

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