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Element and isotope separation in a vacuum‐arc centrifuge

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3 Author(s)
Geva, M. ; Applied Physics Section, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520 ; Krishnan, M. ; Hirshfield, J.L.

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Centrifugal separation of elements and isotopes in a rotating, magnetized column of highly ionized plasma is described. Such a centrifuge differs from prior plasma centrifuges in that the source of plasma is a laser‐initiated vacuum arc, rather than a gas discharge. Detailed measurements are presented of the axial evolution of the radial plasma flux and separation profiles. Centrifugal separation increases rapidly with distance from the cathode plasma source, reaching an asymptotic value about 60 cm downstream. The separation is observed to increase exponentially with the square of the radius. The potential profile across the column was measured and found to be parabolic with radius. These observations are accounted for by a steady‐state, multispecies, fluid model of the rotating plasma.

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Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 5 )