We have analyzed the precision and systematic errors of the familiar method of a plane single-ended probe for measuring the anisotropic distribution functions for electrons and ions in plasma. Analytic relations that connect the plasma parameters and the required number of terms in a series are obtained under the conditions when anisotropy is due to the presence of an electric field in the plasma. It has been shown that ten terms of the series are usually sufficient to adequately describe the ion distribution function, except for the case of strong fields. For strongly anisotropic charged particle distribution functions, the spline interpolation technique for experimental data is proposed and tested, which substantially reduces the systematic error for a preset number of terms in the series. It has been shown for abundant actual plasma objects with the mirror symmetry that the number of required orientations of a plane probe for the experimental distribution function can be reduced by half compared to the most general case of the absence of any symmetry for a fixed number of terms in the Legendre series, while for the same number of orientations, the number of terms in the series, which are determined from these measurements, doubled accordingly.
Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)