A comparison of emissive probe techniques for electric potential measurements in a complex plasma

J. P. Sheehan, Y. Raitses, N. Hershkowitz, I. Kaganovich, N. J. Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

The major emissive probe techniques are compared to better understand the floating potential of an electron emitting surface in a plasma. An overview of the separation point technique, floating point technique, and inflection point in the limit of zero emission technique is given, addressing how each method works as well as the theoretical basis and limitations of each. It is shown that while the floating point method is the most popular, it is expected to yield a value ∼1.5Te/e below the plasma potential due to a virtual cathode forming around the probe. The theoretical predictions were checked with experiments performed in a 2 kW annular Hall thruster plasma (ne ∼ 109−1010 cm−3and Te ∼ 10−50 eV). The authors find that the floating point method gives a value around 2Te/e below the inflection point method, which is shown to be a more accurate emissive probe technique than other techniques used in this work for measurements of the plasma potential.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume18
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cathodes
  • electric potential
  • electron emission
  • plasma probes
  • plasma properties

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