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Charge Flow and Plasma Behavior in Intense Ion Beam Diodes

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Intense ion beams are produced in high-power vacuum diodes of various configurations and are believed to be useful for applications in inertial confinement fusion and plasma confinement. Using magnetically insulated diodes, we investigated spatial nonuniformities of the diode plasmas, plasma expansion, ion transverse velocities in the diode gap, electron flow to the anode, and the charge distribution in the gap. Various time-dependent diagnostic techniques including recently developed spectroscopic methods have been used. We observed rapid closure of the diode gap, resulting from fast expansion of the electric field-excluding anode plasma early in the pulse. This contributes significantly to the measured ion current density enhancement. The electron cloud in the gap was seen to spread towards the anode beyond the region of the theoretical electron sheath. This is consistent with observed ion current densities being larger than the values calculated using the actual diode gap. The ion angular spread was found to increase locally due to nonuniform expansion of the cathode plasma for one class of phenomena and of the anode plasma for the other two classes. Part of these phenomena were associated with electron flow to the anode. The ion divergence angle in the gap was observed to be independent of the ion mass and to be significantly smaller than angles previously observed outside the diode.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 5 )