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In the paper we present a simplified model description of inductively coupled plasma discharges operating at a rather high radio-frequency (rf) power. In this case the induced high plasma currents can cause periodic compressions over a substantial radial distance. Such conditions are obviously given in rf driven 1 MHz/150 kW plasma sources developed at the Institute for Plasma Physics Garching for negative (hydrogen) ion production in future neutral beam injection (NBI) systems for nuclear fusion research, such as the 1 MeV/50 MW NBI system for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor [T. Inoue, R. Hemsworth, V. Kulygin, and Y. Okumura, Fusion Eng. Design 55, 291 (2001)]. The given model describes quite well the compression and other features of the discharge. The results include the Ohmic power input (i.e., electron heating), the resulting density build-up, and - as a new feature - periodical plasma compressions, leading to a direct energy input also into the plasma ions. The model also explains the strange effect of small argon admixtures, which improve the negative ion yield in rf sources by a factor of up to 2�3 (but which have no effect in conventional dc arc sources). With the calculated dependencies from external parameters (e.g., rf-power and frequency, gas pressure, ion mass or the specific geometry), the modelling may help for the further optimisation of the rf source.

Additional information

Authors: WILHELM R, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, EURATOM association, Garching (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Physics of Plasmas, February (2003), Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.513-520
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