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Plasma development in the accelerator of a 2-kJ focus discharge

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Abstract

Optical image structures from early breakdown (≈200 nsec) to focus formation (~1300 nsec) in 3 Torr hydrogen were studied by means of 2 image converter shutters having 50-nsec and 10-nsec exposure. Space charge limited cathode spots at the outer electrode (OE)—spoke-shaped positive columns across the gap—and an extended electron cloud along the center electrode (CE) determine the current flow during early breakdown. Ionization increases exponentially within the center gap plasma. This is separated from the CE by a pattern of anode drop filaments. Filament structures grow into the z-axis accelerated current sheath, which in addition carries the early spoke pattern. The sheath appears homogeneous after leaving the accelerator exit.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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