- PHYSICS OF PLASMAS Journal
- May 2015
- 5 (053501)
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- The steady, collisionless, slender flow of a magnetized plasma into a surrounding vacuum is considered. The ion component is modeled as mono-energetic, while electrons are assumed Maxwellian upstream. The magnetic field has a convergent-divergent geometry, and attention is restricted to its paraxial region, so that 2D and drift effects are ignored. By using the conservation of energy and magnetic moment of particles and the quasi-neutrality condition, the ambipolar electric field and the distribution functions of both species are calculated self-consistently, paying attention to the existence of effective potential barriers associated to magnetic mirroring. The solution is used to find the total potential drop for a set of upstream conditions, plus the axial evolution of various moments of interest (density, temperatures, and heat fluxes). The results illuminate the behavior of magnetic nozzles, plasma jets, and other configurations of interest, showing, in particular, in the divergent plasma the collisionless cooling of electrons, and the generation of collisionless electron heat fluxes.
- electron cooling; finite potential drop; magnetized plasma