Interactions of the directed plasma from a cathodic arc with electrodes and magnetic fields

Morcela M.M. Bilek, David R. McKenzie, Yongbai Yin, Manish U. Chhowalla, William I. Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Curved magnetic ducts are frequently used to remove macroscopic-sized droplets from the plasma stream of cathodic vacuum arcs. The plasma of a cathodic vacuum arc in a magnetic filter is characterized by a strongly directional ion velocity (corresponding to 20-100 eV) and magnetized electrons. In the first section of this paper the effects of these features on the I-V characteristic curves of planar probes are identified and explained using a simple model. This is then used to interpret the interaction of the plasma with the walls of a biased quarter torus duct. Two small electrodes placed on the outer and inner sections of the curved duct wall show that the I-V characteristic is determined primarily by the electron-ion current balance at the wall on the outside of the curve. The application of a bias to a planar electrode on the outer wall section was found to give the same increase in throughput as a positive bias applied to the entire duct with the advantage of a much smaller electron current being drawn by the biasing power supply. The improvement in duct throughput achievable with positive biasing of the duct wall was found to depend on both the configuration and strength of the magnetic field in the quarter torus filter. The plasma density profile and potential were unaffected by the application of the bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1291-1298
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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