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Measurement of total ion current from vacuum arc plasma sources

  • Author(s): Oks, Efim M.
  • Savkin, Konstantin P.
  • Yushkov, Georgiu Yu.
  • Nikolaev, Alexey G.
  • Anders, A.
  • Brown, Ian G.
  • et al.
Abstract

The total ion current generated by a vacuum arc plasma source was measured. The discharge system investigated allowed ion collection from the arc plasma streaming through a hemispherical mesh anode with geometric transparency of 72 percent. A range of different cathode materials was investigated, and the arc current was varied over the range 50-500 A. We find that the normalized ion current (Iion/Iarc) depends on the cathode material, with values in the range from 5 percent to 19 percent and generally greater for elements of low cohesive energy. The application of a strong axial magnetic field in the cathode and arc region leads to increased normalized ion current, but only by virtue of enhanced ion charge states formed in a strong magnetic field.

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