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Cathode-Spot Dynamics in a High-Current Pulsed Arc: A Noise Study

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3 Author(s)
Luke Ryves ; Sch. of Phys., Univ. of Sydney, Sydney, NSW ; David R. McKenzie ; Marcela M. M. Bilek

Cathode spots are the locus for plasma production in cathodic vacuum arcs, and measurements of the discharge voltage provide information about the physics. The voltage noise and cathode-erosion patterns of a high-current pulsed titanium arc were studied as a function of time, current, and pulse shape. Enhanced noise and a 1/f3 trend in the spectral power density were observed when cathode spots are close together at the initiation of an arc for fast rising currents (>1.3 kA in 30 mus) or when the total current exceeds a threshold value of 1.6 kA. We propose a model in which the individual currents associated with the spot substructure can act as noise generators coupled via magnetic fields or coherent spot nucleation.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 2 )