CURRENT FLOW BETWEEN ELECTRODES IMMERSED IN A LOW GAS PRESSURE PLASMA
BOEING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH LABS SEATTLE WA
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When electrodes are immersed in a low-density gas plasma, breakdown in the ordinary practical sense cannot occur with an applied voltage less than the minimum of Paschens curve. However, a leakage current can flow. The maximum circuit current will be numerically equal to the saturation positive ion current which flows from the plasma to the cathode. Attention is centered on the situation where one electrode has an area very much larger than the other. The difference in leakage current, as polarity is reversed, is then striking. The theory is discussed. The effects on the current vs voltage characteristics of changing the electrode area, electrode-area ratio, plasma ionization density, gas density, and gas were investigated experimentally. Practical expedients can greatly decrease the leakage current.
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics