The design and construction of a high density plasma source



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The Magneto-Bernoulli Experiment (MBX) is a rotating plasma experiment being conducted at The University of Texas at Austin to study the various magneto fluid states. This kind of a study is only possible when the flow velocities are comparable to the Alfv´en speeds. The Alfv´en speed can be reduced by increasing the density of the plasma inside the MBX chamber. The purpose of this work is to design and construct such a high density plasma source based on gas discharge methods. Helium gas is broken down inside a stainless steel chamber using energy from a 58 μF capacitor charged to 4 kV and a capacitor bank consisting of four 1280 μF connected in parallel charged to [varies with, similar to] 1000 V is used to sustain the plasma for a longer duration. The density and temperature profiles within the chamber are measured for different operating conditions and the source is optimized for maximum density. Calculations show that a single unit is able to fill the MBX chamber with a high density of [varies with, similar to] 10¹³ cm⁻³.