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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Temporal Development of Ion Beam Mean Charge State in Pulsed Vacuum Arc Ion Sources


Vacuum arc ion sources, commonly also known as "Mevva" ion sources, are used to generate intense pulsed metal ion beams. It is known that the mean charge state of the ion beam lies between 1 and 4, depending on cathode material, arc current, arc pulse duration, presence or absence of magnetic field at the cathode, as well background gas pressure. A characteristic of the vacuum arc ion beam is a significant decrease in ion charge state throughout the pulse. This decrease can be observed up to a few milliseconds, until a "noisy" steady-state value is established. Since the extraction voltage is constant, a decrease in the ion charge state has a proportional impact on the average ion beam energy. This paper presents results of detailed investigations of the influence of arc parameters on the temporal development of the ion beam mean charge state for a wide range of cathode materials. It is shown that for fixed pulse duration, the charge state decrease can be reduced by lower arc current, higher pulse repetition rate, and reduction of the distance between cathode and extraction region. The latter effect may be associated with charge exchange processes in the discharge plasma.

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