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Metal and gas ion species and their charge state distributions were measured for pulsed copper cathodic arcs in argon background gas in the presence of an axial magnetic field. It was found that changing the cathode position relative to anode and ion extraction system, as well as increasing the gas pressure, did not affect much the arc burning voltage and the related power dissipation. However, the burning voltage and power dissipation greatly increased as the magnetic field strength was increased. The fraction of metal ions and the mean ion charge state were reduced as the discharge length was increased. The observations can be explained by the combination of charge exchange collisions and electron impact ionization. They confirm that previously published data on characteristic material-dependent charge state distributions (e.g., Anders and Yushkov in 2002) are not universal but valid for high vacuum conditions and the specifics of the applied magnetic fields.
Date of Publication: June 2011