Neutral-depletion-induced axially asymmetric density in a helicon source and imparted thrust

Kazunori Takahashi, Yoshinori Takao, Akira Ando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The high plasma density downstream of the source is observed to be sustained only for a few hundreds of microsecond at the initial phase of the discharge, when pulsing the radiofrequency power of a helicon plasma thruster. Measured relative density of argon neutrals inside the source implies that the neutrals are significantly depleted there. A position giving a maximum plasma density temporally moves to the upstream side of the source due to the neutral depletion and then the exhausted plasma density significantly decreases. The direct thrust measurement demonstrates that the higher thrust-to-power ratio is obtained by using only the initial phase of the high density plasma, compared with the steady-state operation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074103
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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