Date: August 2000
Creator: Stephens, Kenneth Frank
Description: Space-charge effects play a dominant role in many areas of physics. In high-power microwave devices using high-current, relativistic electron beams, it places a limit on the amount of radiation a device can produce. Because the beam's space-charge can actually reflect a portion of the beam, the ability to accurately predict the amount of current a device can carry is needed. This current value is known as the space-charge limited current. Because of the mathematical difficulties, this limit is typically estimated from a one-dimensional theory. This work presents a two-dimensional theory for calculating an upper-bound for the space-charge limited current of relativistic electron beams propagating in grounded coaxial drift tubes. Applicable to annular beams of arbitrary radius and thickness, the theory includes the effect introduced by a finite-length drift tube of circular cross-section. Using Green's second identity, the need to solve Poisson's equation is transferred to solving a Sturm-Liouville eigenvalue problem, which is easily solved by elementary methods. In general, the resulting eigenvalue, which is required to estimate the limiting current, must be numerically determined. However, analytic expressions can be found for frequently encountered limiting cases. Space-charge effects also produce the fundamental collective behavior found in plasmas, especially in plasma sheaths. ...
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