Space-Charge Saturation and Current Limits in Cylindrical Drift Tubes and Planar Sheaths

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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 ... continued below

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Stephens, Kenneth Frank August 2000.

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  • Stephens, Kenneth Frank II

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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. A plasma sheath is the transition region between a bulk plasma and an adjacent plasma-facing surface. The sheath controls the loss of particles from the plasma in order to maintain neutrality. Using a fully kinetic theory, the problem of a planar sheath with a single-minimum electric potential profile is investigated. Appropriate for single charge-state ions of arbitrary temperature, the theory includes the emission of warm electrons from the surface as well as a net current through the sheath and is compared to particle-in-cell simulations. Approximate expressions are developed for estimating the sheath potential as well as the transition to space-charge saturation. The case of a space-charge limited sheath is discussed and compared to the familiar Child-Langmuir law.

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  • August 2000

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  • Sept. 25, 2007, 9:05 p.m.

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  • May 17, 2016, 3:22 p.m.

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Stephens, Kenneth Frank. Space-Charge Saturation and Current Limits in Cylindrical Drift Tubes and Planar Sheaths, dissertation, August 2000; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2598/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .