Interior and Exterior Laser-Induced Fluorescence and Plasma Measurements within a Hall Thruster (Postprint)
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA PROPULSION DIRECTORATE
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We describe results of a study of emissive-probe-based plasma potential measurements and laser-induced fluorescence velocimetry of neutral and singly ionized xenon in the plume and interior portions of the acceleration channel of a Hall thruster plasma discharge operating at powers ranging from 250 to 725 W. Axial ion and neutral velocity profiles for four discharge voltage conditions 100, 160, 200, and 250V are measured as are radial ion velocity profiles in the near-field plume. Axial ion velocity measurements both inside and outside the thruster as well as radial velocity measurements outside the thruster are performed using laser-induced fluorescence with nonresonant signal detection. Neutral axial velocity measurements are similarly performed in the interior of the Hall thruster with resonance fluorescence collection. Optical access to the interior of the Hall thruster is provided by a 1-mm-wide axial slot in the outer insulator wall. The majority of the ion velocity measurements used partially saturated fluorescence to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Probe-based plasma potential measurements extend from 50 mm outside the thruster exit plane to the near anode region for all but the highest discharge voltage condition. For each condition, the axial electric field is calculated from the plasma potential, and the local electron temperature is determined from the difference between the floating and plasma potentials. These two sets of measurements delineate the structure of the plasma and indicate that the ionization and acceleration regions are somewhat separated. Also, these measurements indicate a region of low electric field near the thruster exit, especially at the higher discharge voltages. This region of near constant potential low electric field may be a result of oscillations, which enhance the local plasma conductivity.
- Radiation and Nuclear Chemistry
- Plasma Physics and Magnetohydrodynamics