Wave propagation and absorption in a Helicon plasma thruster and its plume Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2022

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 14

volume

  • 31

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1361-6595

abstract

  • A two-dimensional, full-wave, frequency domain, cold
    plasma model is used to study electromagnetic power
    propagation and absorption in a helicon plasma thruster,
    including its far plume region and surrounding space. Re-
    sults show that a fraction of power is absorbed in the
    plume region, and that power deposition in the source
    is essentially unperturbed by the simulation domain size,
    the presence of metallic obstacles, or the plasma den-
    sity in the environment. An electron-cyclotron reso-
    nance (ECR) surface always exists downstream that ef-
    fectively prevents radiation to the space beyond along
    the plume. In the presence of an overdense environmen-
    tal plasma, like the one expected in a vacuum cham-
    ber, elds are fully evanescent beyond this transition,
    and vacuum chamber boundary conditions a ect but lit-
    tle the waveelds before this surface. In the absence of an
    environmental plasma, a double wave regime transition
    exists at the interface between the plasma and vacuum
    that hinders accurate numerical simulation in the plume
    region.

keywords

  • waves in plasmas; electric propulsion; electrodeless thrusters; helicon plasma thruster