Perspective on the Role of Negative Ions and Ion-Ion Plasmas in Heavy Ion Fusion Science, Magnetic Fusion Energy, and Related Fields
Description: Some years ago it was suggested that halogen negative ions could offer a feasible alternative path to positive ions as a heavy ion fusion driver beam which would not suffer degradation due to electron accumulation in the accelerator and beam transport system, and which could be converted to a neutral beam by photodetachment near the chamber entrance if desired. Since then, experiments have demonstrated that negative halogen beams can be extracted and accelerated away from the gas plume near the source with a surviving current density close to what could be achieved with a positive ion of similar mass, and with comparable optical quality. In demonstrating the feasibility of halogen negative ions as heavy ion driver beams, ion - ion plasmas, an interesting and somewhat novel state of matter, were produced. These plasmas, produced near the extractor plane of the sources, appear, based upon many lines of experimental evidence, to consist of almost equal densities of positive and negative chlorine ions, with only a small component of free electrons. Serendipitously, the need to extract beams from this plasma for driver development provides a unique diagnostic tool to investigate the plasma, since each component - positive ions, negative ions, and electrons -- can be extracted and measured separately. We discuss the relevance of these observations to understanding negative ion beam extraction from electronegative plasmas such as halogens, or the more familiar hydrogen of magnetic fusion ion sources. We suggest a concept which might improve negative hydrogen extraction by the addition of a halogen. The possibility and challenges of producing ion-ion plasmas with thin targets of halogens or, perhaps, salt, is briefly addressed.
Date: August 1, 2008
Creator: Grisham, L.R. & Kwan, J.W.
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