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High-speed photography and magnetic field probes were used to visualize and study the formation and propagation of current sheets in a pulsed plasma accelerator. Magnetic field measurements complement photographic records, as the latter indicate the location of the plasma but not necessarily current, whereas magnetic field data provide an unambiguous picture of the current location, but do not directly yield the location of the plasma. The observed current sheet evolution was found to be rich in features and has produced fundamental insight into the phenomena of current sheet canting and trailing wake formation.
Date of Publication: Apr 2005