Enhancement of axial momentum lost to the radial wall by the upstream magnetic field in a helicon source

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Individual measurements of forces exerted to an upstream back wall, a radial source wall, and a magnetic field of a helicon plasma thruster, which has two solenoids upstream and downstream of a radiofrequency antenna, are precisely measured. Two different structures of magnetic field lines in the source are tested, where the solenoid current is supplied to either only the downstream solenoid or to both the solenoids. It is observed that the high density plasma exists upstream of the rf antenna when both the solenoids are powered, while the maximum density exists near the rf antenna when only the downstream solenoid is powered. Although the force exerted to the back wall is increased for the two solenoids case, the axial momentum lost to the radial wall is simultaneously enhanced; then the total force exerted to the whole structure of the thruster is found to be very similar for the two magnetic field configurations. It is shown that the individual force measurement provides useful information on the plasma momentum interacting with the physical boundaries and the magnetic fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number054007
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 24


  • electric propulsion
  • helicon thruster
  • magnetic field structure
  • plasma momentum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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