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The HelCat Helicon-Cathode Device at UNM

Bricette Cyrin, with Christopher Watts, Mark Gilmore, Tiffany Hayes, Ralph Kelly, Christopher Leach, Andrew Sanchez, Alan Lynn, Jacek Osinski, Shuangwei Xie, Lincan Yan, Yue Zhang

Abstract
• The HelCat helicon-cathode device is a dual-source linear plasma device for investigating a wide variety of basic plasma phenomena. HelCat is 4 m long, 50 cm diameter, with axial magnetic field < 2.2 kG. An RF helicon source is at one end of the device, and a thermionic BaO-Ni cathode is at the other end. Current research topics include the relationship of turbulence to sheared plasma flows, deterministic chaos, Alfvén wave propagation and damping, and merging plasma interaction. We present an overview of the ongoing research, and focus on recent results of merging helicon and cathode plasma. We will present some really cool movies.

Summary
• Studies focus primarily on effects of shear flow covering a variety of topics
– Turbulence and chaos generation and suppression – Generation of drift and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities – Relative effects of poloidal vs. axial flows – Shear flow effects on injected plasma bubble – New diagnostics: 4m spectrometer and emissive probe

• Alfvén wave propagation
– Damping length studies – Association with bubble injection

• Plasma bubble interaction with background plasma
– Relevant to astrophysical jet formation and coronal mass ejections

• New diagnostics
– Flow and shear measurements

HelCat: Helicon-Cathode Device
• Dual source helicon-cathode
– Best of both worlds:
– high density, steady state helicon with high(er) temperature, broader profile – Variable ionization fraction
Params for He B (Gauss) Te (eV) ne (m-3) β vA / vTh, e nn /ne Collisionality vi / ωci Cathode 100-2000 1 - 20 5x1017 – 5x1018 2x10-5 – 0.3 0.1 – 10 1000 – <1 0.05 – 100 Helicon 100-2000 1 – 10 5x1018 – 3x019 5x10-5 – 0.2 0.1 – 3 1000 – <1 1 – 1000

– Vary collisionality over wide parameter range – Pre-ionization of helicon at low pressure – Different ionization mechanisms -> different turbulence – Colliding plasmas: way cool!

• Science Motivation
– – – –

Drift waves and flow shear Intermittent, convective blobs Alfvén wave propagation Expanding plasma bubble into background – Helicon physics

HelCat [Helicon-Cathode] Parameters
• Physical device
– 4 m long, 50 cm diameter – 13 cm diameter helicon; 15 cm diameter thermionic cathode – 13 magnetic field coils, 2.2 kGauss max field – Electrostatic and Magnetic Probes – Microwave Interferometers (40 GHz, 94 GHz) – Visible Spectroscopy – Laser Induced Fluorescence
– High resolution and survey – Fast framing camera

• Diagnostics

Bias Rings

Grid

Helicon

Interferometers

Cathode

Magnets

Pretty plasma pictures
Cathode Source with Ar Plasma Helicon Source with Ar Plasma [top] and He Plasma [bottom]

Comparison of helicon & cathode plasma
isat (V) 1.2 10 4 Helicon ion saturation current

20

Helicon density & temperature profiles Cathode density profile Helicon B: 400 G gas fill: 3.00 mTorr power: 1000.00 W Cathode B: 1 kG gas fill: 0.5 mTorr icath : 500A helcion ne cathode ne

3.5

1 104

8 103
isat (bits)

15

3

6 103

helicon Te

2.5
Te (eV)

4 103

ne (1018)

10

2 103

2

0 0

50

100

150

time (s)

200

250

300

350

5

1.5
2.5

Cathode ion saturation current

0

0

2

4

distance (cm)

6

8

1 10
isat (arb)

2

1.5

• Helicon

1

• Cathode

– Density profiles peaked – Temperature profiles Gaussian like (or hollow) – Steady-state (typically pulsed 250 ms)

0.5

0 0 5 10 15 20 time (ms) 25 30 35 40

– Density profile varies depending on current & time (note cathode inhomogeneity) – Temperature broad – Pulsed, 10 ms

Shear Flow Studies

Flow and Shear Modification with E
Cathode Anode RF Helicon Source

Bias Rings

Magnet Coils

• Attempt to actively control turbulence-driven particle transport • Use imposed E to modify Shear flow using bias rings
– Changes ExB velocity – Independently adjustable – Eventual goal of active feedback control

• Manipulation of flow profiles provides “control knob” for manipulating the transport

Fluctuation Suppression by Radial Bias
Xie: This session GP8.00107

• Density gradient region show large amplitude, drift wave type fluctuations • Imposed radial electrical field reduces drift wave fluctuations to a very low level • Period doubling is observed from phase plot of ion saturation signal
Fluctuations under Bias
-10
2.2 mT

1.1 10 1 10

4 4

Ion saturation current (0V)

1.1 10 1 10

Ion saturation current (50V)
4 4

1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0

Power spectrum (0V)

-20 -30 -40 -50 -60 -70 -80
100 1000 10
4

9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 100 105 110 115 120 125 130 135 140

9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000

100

105

110

time (ms)

time (ms)

115

120

125

130

135

140

-5

0

5

10

15

20

25

Bias Voltage (V)

freqency (Hz)

10

5

1 10

4

2D phase plot (0V)

1.2 10 1.1 10 1 10

4 4 4

2D phase plot (40V)

1.1 10 1 10

4 4

2D phase plot (46V)
7200

2D phase plot (50V)

9000 8000 7000 6000 5000

9000 8000 7000 6000 5000
6000 7000 8000 9000 1 10
4

9000 8000 7000 6000 5000

7000

6800

6600

5000

6000

Isat (bits)

7000

8000

9000

1 10

4

5000

Isat (bits)

1.1 10 1.2 10

4

4

4000

4000

5000

6000

Isat (bits)

7000

8000

9000

1 104 1.1 104

6400

6400

6600

Isat (bits)

6800

7000

7200

Drift Wave Frequency
• From power spectrum, it is clear the drift wave frequency is 600 Hz
60o

• This can be verified by plasma movies
[see left and laptop]

m≈1
Phase Difference between Probes
150 100 50 0 -50

– taken at 1200 frame/sec – rotation period is 2 frames – : so the frequency is 600 Hz

• Corroborated by 2-probe correlation measurements • Simple theory confirms basic picture
– See poster GP8.00106 and 107 for more details
Floating Potential under Different Bias
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10
Vbias=0V Vbias=17V Vbias=27V

-100 -150 0 10

50

o
20 30 40

Bias Voltage (V)

Radial Electric Field
400 300 200 100 0 -100 -200 -300 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1
Er (0V) Er (17V) Er (27V)

Radius (cm)

Radial Scale

Controlling and Understanding Flows
Hayes: This session GP8.00108

Mach probe placement

Helicon Source

Bias Rings
• (Sheared) flows appear in many plasmas

Mesh Grid

• (Sheared) flows affect turbulence and transport • Using Helicon source, create and control flows
– Create or stabilize instabilities – Use system of grid (s) and bias ring (group of concentric rings) – Bias grid from -40V to 40V

– Space Plasmas, such as Solar Wind – Laboratory plasmas

Shear flow yields varied behavior
B

A

• Control flows with voltage
– (D) flow with no grid

D C

• Create instabilities (A)
– Plasma is able to stabilize for “low” voltages (B) – Plasma unstable for “high” voltage (C)

Cool Movies

Check the nearby laptop
• Very Cool movies of the m=1 mode in the Ar helicon plasma
– Shot with a 1200 fps Canon digital camera

Linear Stability Analysis of Plasmas Under Biasing
• Model includes: • i) resistive drift modes, ii) Kelvin-Helmholtz modes, and iii) rotation-driven interchange modes

Gilmore: This session GP8.00106

Drift Modes

Kelvin-Helmholtz Modes

• Radial region of max. instability close to ~ plasma edge, where max. n / n0 observed • Predicted ωreal + ωExB very close to measured frequency • m=1 predicted most unstable, as measured in experiment

• Instability predicted with ∂v0z/∂r observed under biasing. • Radial region of max. instability at radii of highest observed fluctuations. • Predicted ωreal within 25% of measured • High m (m=8), high kz (λz≈29 cm) predicted

Linear Stability Analysis cont.
Interchange Modes

Conclusions:
• Seems to confirm our basic understanding of the fluctuations
– But linear analysis cannot describe the nonlinear physics (such as chaos)

• Drift modes are most unstable at the plasma edge
– Dominantly m=1 mode – ωreal strongly Doppler downshifted

• Unstable rotation-driven interchange modes predicted in the edge gradient region
- where rotation is highest

• Kelvin-Helmholtz modes are destabilized by axial velocity shear (∂v0z/∂r ) under biasing
– Theory and experiment ωreal agree within 25%.

• Predicted ωreal + ωExB varies widely across unstable region. • Full cylindrical geometry without WKB approx. is underway.

• A WKB slab model indicates that interchange modes are unstable in plasma edge region
– More complete analysis needed for quantitative comparisons.

Alfvén Wave Studies
Kelly: Withdrawn

• • •

Induction coil used to wiggle magnetic field
– Exciter circuit 14A @ 100kHz

Second coil measures Alfvén wave downstream Experiment Goals
1. Do waves travel along field lines? 2. Does the wavelength change as theory predicts? 3. Effects of neutral fraction
exciter

Alfvén wave

Helicon plasma

detector

100 kHz Funtion Generator Amp Cross correlation
5

Tantalizing evidence of Alfvén waves inconclusive
1 0.1 0.01 1E-3 1E-4 1E-5 1E-6 1E-7 0 50 100 150 200 250

• Cross spectral density shows detected signal at expected frequency • Changing probe orientation should modify signal • However, though some amplitude variation, no definitive change • Conclusion:
– Variation in magnitude does not indicate Alfvén waves detected

Power

Frequency (kHz)
1 0.1 0.01 1E-3 1E-4 1E-5 1E-6 1E-7 100

Data near 120kHz with peaks slightly shifted to emphasize the amplitude differences.
Black —Probe and Emitter aligned vertically Red -----Emitter rotated 90° Blue -----Probe and Emitter both at 90° Green ---probe rotated 90°
150

Current Status Of Experiment
• Density calculated from slope of k vs. ω
– n = 3.40x1019

• A little high, but not unreasonable • Emitter works well • Receiver signal noisy  Working on better 10MHz filter • Preliminary data indicates Alfven waves observed

k vs. ω

Magnetic Bubble Expansion Experiments
Zhang: Thurs. PM; UP8.00133 Lynn: Thurs. PM; UP8.00134

• Radio lobe structure is a fundamental aspect of extra-galactic evolution • Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) interact with the solar wind, and lead to severe geomagnetic storms • Nonlinear plasma physics issues cannot at present be resolved from numerical computation or astronomical observations alone • ⇒ Laboratory experiments are needed

Coaxial Magnetized Plasma Gun
Jet initiation

Detached jet

– Spheromak or other geometry

Isat Current (A)

• Plasma gun injects bubble into background HelCat plasma • Studies of propagation, evolution and interaction with background flows • Fast camera verifies plasma injection • Langmuir probe and spectroscopy [next slides] measure propagation speed.

2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 125 130
Time (us)
Tip 1&2 Tip 9&10

New optical diagnostics
• 4m spectrometer
– Ion drift velocity and temperature measurements

Leach: This session GP8.00110

• Survey escelette spectrograph
– Impurity content – Electron temperature from line ratios

• Fast cameras
– CCD camera with 600 Hz video – Framing camera with 1.2ns gate time

• Major new measurements:
– Azimuthal drift velocity
– 4m spectrometer used to detect Doppler shifts – Fast, accurate drift measurement via two-lens/bifilar fiber optic cable setup – Mach probe 300-500m/s drifts were not detectable via our optics

Measured Line from Plasma Bubble

– Plasma bubble jet velocities and photos
– Mach probe 3,100m/s velocity confirmed optically to be 2,900m/s via Doppler shift – 1.2ns 4SpecE camera used to obtain bubble jet images

Reference Line from Helicon Plasma

Emissive Probe
HelCat Current Supply

• Direct measurement of plasma potential

Floating Ground Basic Emissive Probe Schematic

• Tungsten filament heated to emissive temps. • Filament swept with high voltage • Probe voltage compared to swept voltage to determine – Ion Saturation Current – Electron Temperature • Entire circuit is floating • Status
– Simulations display positive results – Real sweep circuit testing well – Created 4th plasma source
– Beam used to map lines of force and electric field
– Useful for lining up probes

Beam from emissive probe