Description: Transient electrical potentials can be generated in plasmas by utilizing impulsive mirror-generated forces acting on the plasma electrons together with ion inertia to cause momentary charge imbalance. In the Mirrortron such potentials are generated by applying a rapidly rising (tens of nanoseconds) localized mirror field to the central region of a hot-electron plasma confined between static mirrors. Because of the loss-cone nature of the electron distribution the sudden appearance of the pulsed mirror tends to expel electrons, whereas the ion density remains nearly constant. The quasi-neutrality condition then operates to create an electrical potential the equipotential surfaces of which can be shown theoretically to be congruent with surfaces of constant B. An alternative way of generating transient potentials is to apply a pulse of high-power microwaves to a plasma residing on a magnetic field with a longitudinal gradient. This technique resembles one employed in the Pleiade experiments. At gigawatt power levels, such as those produced by a Free Electron Laser, the production of very high transient potentials is predicted. Fusion-relevant applications of these ideas include heavy-ion drivers for inertial fusion, and the possibility of employing these techniques to enhance the longitudinal confinement of fusion plasmas in multiple-mirror systems. 23 refs., 3 figs.
Date: September 24, 1990
Creator: Post, R.F.
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