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Electron beam-plasma interaction experiments with the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF)

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4 Author(s)
Murphy, S.M. ; Plasma Fusion Center, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; Lee, M.C. ; Moriarty, D.T. ; Riddolls, R.J.

Summary form only given, as follows. Our laboratory investigation of electron beam-plasma interactions is motivated by the recent space shuttle experiments. Interesting but puzzling phenomena were observed in the shuttle experiments such as the bulk heating of background ionospheric plasmas by the injected electron beams and the excitation of plasma waves in the frequency range of ELF waves. Our plasma machine, the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF) can generate a large magnetized plasma with the electron plasma frequency greater than the electron gyrofrequency by a factor of 3-5 similar to the plasma condition in the ionosphere. Short pulses of electron beams are injected into the VTF plasmas in order to simulate the beam injection from spacecrafts in the ionosphere. A Langmuir probe installed at a bottom port of VTF monitors the spatial variation of electron beams emitted from LaB6 filaments. An energy analyzer has been used to determine the particle energy distribution in the VTF plasmas. Several mechanisms will be tested as potential causes of the bulk heating of background plasmas by the injected electron beams as seen in the space shuttle experiments. It is speculated that the observed ELF emissions result from the excitation of purely growing modes detected by the space shuttle-borne detectors. Results of our laboratory experiments will be reported to corroborate this speculation.

Published in:

Plasma Science, 1995. IEEE Conference Record - Abstracts., 1995 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

5-8 June 1995

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