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

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

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.

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