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Development of Two Propulsion Systems with Helicon Plasma

G.-S. Choi et al. (19P06)

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 51 / Number 2T / February 2007 / Pages 232-234

Technical Paper / Open Magnetic Systems for Plasma Confinement /

Two space propulsion systems, which are called K2H (KBSI-KAIST-Hanyang University) and DiPS (Diversified Plasma Simulator) devices, are being developed in parallel to explore the space propulsion parameters and optimal helicon operation conditions with the concept of VASIMR (Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket). Both devices utilize the open-ended magnetic configuration. K2H has three regions such as helicon source, ion cyclotron resonance heating (ICRH), magnetic nozzle and expansion regions. DiPS is the space plasma simulator and composed of three major sections: helicon plasma source, extraction region and space simulation region. Helicon plasmas are generated for both devices by 13.56 MHz rf power using M=+1 right-helical antenna at pressure of several mTorr. Initial plasma parameters such as density, temperature, and drift velocity were measured by a laser induced fluorescence (LIF) system and a fast scanning electric probe system with an rf-compensated Langmuir probe and a Mach probe at ICRH and magnetic nozzle region. The results are given as follows: plasma density n = 1011 - 1013 cm-3 (K2H) and 1012 - 1013 cm-3 (DiPS), electron temperature Te = 3 - 9eV (K2H) and 2 - 4 eV (DiPS), ion temperature Ti = 0.144 - 0.164 eV (K2H), and drift velocity vd = 0.8 - 1.55 km/s (K2H). A simple analysis of the results is provided.

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