Production of Hyperthermal Hydrogen Atoms by AN Arc Discharge.
A magnetically confined thermal electric arc gas heater has been designed and built as a suitable source of heat for dissociating hydrogen molecules with energy in the range of a few eV. Specifically, the average beam kinetic energy is determined to be 1.5 eV, the dissociation rate is 0.5 atoms per molecule and the atom beam intensity in the forward direction is 1018 atoms/sr-sec. The working pressure in the arc discharge region is from 15 to 25 torr. This novel atom source has been successfully ignited and operated with pure hydrogen during several hours of continuous performance, maintaining its characteristics. The hyperthermal hydrogen atom beam, which is obtained from this source is analyzed and characterized in a high vacuum system, the characterization of the atom beam is accomplished by two different methods: calorimetry and surface ionization. Calorimetric sensors were used for detecting the atom beam by measuring the delivered power of the impinging atoms on the sensor surface. In the second approach an H-surface production backscattering experiment from a low work function surface was conducted. The validity of these two methods is discussed, and the results are compared. The different collision mechanisms to dissociate and ionize hydrogen molecules in the arc discharge are reviewed, as well as the physics of electric arcs. Finally, a Monte Carlo simulation program is used to calculate the ionization probability of low energy atoms perpendicularly reflected from a surface converter, as a model for atom surface ionization.
- Pub Date:
- Physics: Atomic; Physics: Fluid and Plasma