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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Seemingly Simple Task: Filling a Solenoid Volume in Vacuum with Dense Plasma


Space-charge neutralization of a pulsed, high-current ion beam is required to compress and focus the beam on a target for warm dense matter physics or heavy ion fusion experiments. We described attempts to produce dense plasma in and near the final focusing solenoid through which the ion beam travels, thereby providing an opportunity for the beam to acquire the necessary charge-compensating electrons. Among the options are plasma injection from four pulsed vacuum arc sources located outside the solenoid, and using a high current (> 4 kA) pulsed vacuum arc plasma from a ring cathode near the edge of the solenoid. The plasma distribution is characterized by photographic means and by an array of movable Langmuir probes. The plasma is produced at several cathode spots distributed azimuthally on the ring cathode. Beam neutralization and compression are accomplished, though issues of density, uniformity, and pulse-to-pulse reproducibly remain to be solved.

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