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A dust storm consisting of carbon grains accelerated to speeds of up to ~ 3 km/s has been launched by a plasma jet produced in a coaxial gun. Diamond and graphite powders with grain radii of 0.5-30 mum have been used. A distinctive feature of this plasma accelerator is that it can use different types of gases and can operate with microparticles having a large range of sizes. Deuterium gas and carbon dust are chosen to be compatible with fusion plasmas as a diagnostic tool. The operating voltages of the coaxial gun are between 5 and 10 kV, and the maximum measured discharge current is 250 kA. High-speed imaging of the plasma jet accelerated by the J x B force, and exiting the gun at 34 km/s, shows a good collimation of the flow for about 1.5 m before it diverges inside a large vacuum tank.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2008