Spatially- and vector-resolved momentum flux lost to a wall in a magnetic nozzle rf plasma thruster

Kazunori Takahashi, Takeharu Sugawara, Akira Ando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Most of the artificial low-pressure plasmas contact with physical walls in laboratories; the plasma loss at the wall significantly affects the plasma device performance, e.g., an electric propulsion device. Near the surface of the wall, ions are spontaneously accelerated by a sheath and deliver their momentum and energy to the wall, while most of the electrons are reflected there. The momentum flux of the ions is a vector field, i.e., having both the radial and axial components even if the azimuthal components are neglected in a cylindrical system. Here the spatially- and vector-resolved measurement of the momentum flux near the cylindrical source wall of a magnetic nozzle radiofrequency (rf) plasma thruster configuration is successfully demonstrated by using a momentum vector measurement instrument. The results experimentally identify the spatial profile of a non-negligible axial momentum flux to the wall, while the radially accelerated ions seem to be responsible for the energy loss to the wall. The spatial profiles of the radial and axial momentum fluxes and the energy lost to the wall are significantly affected by the magnetic field strength. The results contribute to understand how and where the momentum and energy in the artificial plasma devices are lost, in addition to the presently tested thruster.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1061
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1


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