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X-Ray Measurements during Whistler-Mode Electron Cyclotron Resonance Plasma Startup and Heating in an Axisymmetric Magnetic Mirror

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6 Author(s)

New measurements and analyses of whistler-mode electron cyclotron resonant heating (ECRH) startup and heating in an axisymmetric magnetic mirror are presented. Experimental studies of startup are presented which include the effects of initial neutral gas pressure on density and energy buildup rates, the effects of electron-beam-generated seed plasma on startup times, and a possible density threshold for the absolute whistler instability. Results of two types of analyses are presented. The first is a Fokker-Planck finite-element simulation the principal result of which is the prediction of the creation of a sloshing electron velocity distribution in the first 10 ¿s after microwave power is applied. The second simulation uses rate equations to predict buildup, with rate coefficients based on a model sloshing-electron distribution function. Both results are consistent with experimental observations. Measurements of X-ray emission provided information about plasma transport, the sloshing electron spatial distribution, and the hot-electron average energy. The foil ratio technique gave average energies of 1-3 keV during whistler-mode ECRH, in agreement with afterglow measurements of hot electron decay. Possible applications of whistler-mode ECRH plasma production and heating are for plasma soft X-ray sources and plasma potential modification in tandem mirror machines.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 5 )