Hall thruster plasma fluctuations identified as the E x B electron drift instability: Modeling and fitting on experimental data

Abstract : Microturbulence has been implicated in anomalous transport at the exit of the Hall thruster, and recent simulations have shown the presence of an azimuthal wave which is believed to contribute to the electron axial mobility. In this paper, the 3D dispersion relation of this E x B electron drift instability is numerically solved. The mode is found to resemble an ion acoustic mode for low values of the magnetic field, as long as a non-vanishing component of the wave vector along the magnetic field is considered, and as long as the drift velocity is small compared to the electron thermal velocity. In these conditions, an analytical model of the dispersion relation for the instability is obtained and is shown to adequately describe the mode obtained numerically. This model is then fitted on the experimental dispersion relation obtained from the plasma of a Hall thruster by the collective light scattering diagnostic. The observed frequency-wave vector dependences are found to be similar to the dispersion relation of linear theory, and the fit provides a non-invasive measurement of the electron temperature and density.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 11, 2016 - 5:40:16 PM
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S. Tsikata, C. Honoré, D. Grésillon, Jordan Cavalier, Nicolas Lemoine, et al.. Hall thruster plasma fluctuations identified as the E x B electron drift instability: Modeling and fitting on experimental data. Physics of Plasmas, American Institute of Physics, 2013, 20 (8), ⟨10.1063/1.4817743⟩. ⟨hal-01287090⟩

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