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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ion Species and Charge States of Vacuum Arc Plasma with Gas Feed and Longitudinal Magnetic Field


The evolution of copper ion species and charge state distributions is measured for a long vacuum arc discharge plasma operated in the presence of a longitudinal magnetic field of several 10 mT and working gas (Ar). It was found that changing the cathode-anode distance within 20 cm as well as increasing the gas pressure did not affect the arc burning voltage and power dissipation by much. In contrast, burning voltage and power dissipation were greatly increased as the magnetic field was increased. The longer the discharge gap the greater was the fraction of gaseous ions and the lower the fraction of metal ions, while the mean ion charge state was reduced. It is argued that the results are affected by charge exchange collisions and electron impact ionization.

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