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Chin. Phys. B, 2015, Vol. 24(8): 085202    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/24/8/085202
PHYSICS OF GASES, PLASMAS, AND ELECTRIC DISCHARGES Prev   Next  

Particle-in-cell simulation for different magnetic mirror effects on the plasma distribution in a cusped field thruster

Liu Hui, Chen Peng-Bo, Zhao Yin-Jian, Yu Da-Ren
Laboratory of Plasma Propulsion, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), Harbin 150001, China
Abstract  Magnetic mirror used as an efficient tool to confine plasma has been widely adopted in many different areas especially in recent cusped field thrusters. In order to check the influence of magnetic mirror effect on the plasma distribution in a cusped field thruster, three different radii of the discharge channel (6 mm, 4 mm, and 2 mm) in a cusped field thruster are investigated by using Particle-in-Cell Plus Monte Carlo (PIC-MCC) simulated method, under the condition of a fixed axial length of the discharge channel and the same operating parameters. It is found that magnetic cusps inside the small radius discharge channel cannot confine electrons very well. Thus, the electric field is hard to establish. With the reduction of the discharge channel's diameter, more electrons will escape from cusps to the centerline area near the anode due to a lower magnetic mirror ratio. Meanwhile, the leak width of the cusped magnetic field will increase at the cusp. By increasing the magnetic field strength in a small radius model of a cusped field thruster, the negative effect caused by the weak magnetic mirror effect can be partially compensated. Therefore, according to engineering design, the increase of magnetic field strength can contribute to obtaining a good performance, when the radial distance between the magnets and the inner surface of the discharge channel is relatively big.
Keywords:  cusped field thruster      PIC-MCC method      magnetic mirror      leak width     
Received:  24 November 2014      Published:  05 August 2015
PACS:  52.65.Pp (Monte Carlo methods)  
  52.65.Rr (Particle-in-cell method)  
  52.75.Di (Ion and plasma propulsion)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51006028) and the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51121004).
Corresponding Authors:  Chen Peng-Bo     E-mail:  1151786040@qq.com

Cite this article: 

Liu Hui, Chen Peng-Bo, Zhao Yin-Jian, Yu Da-Ren Particle-in-cell simulation for different magnetic mirror effects on the plasma distribution in a cusped field thruster 2015 Chin. Phys. B 24 085202

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