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Ion–acoustic instability of the positive column

  • D. B. Ilić (a1), G. M. Wheeler (a1), F. W. Crawford (a1) and S. A. Self (a1)

Abstract

The excitation characteristics of the current-driven ion acoustic instability are studied, using a linearized kinetic model for a weakly ionized, unmagnetized plasma. Convective instability is predicted for typical low-pressure positive column conditions. The calculated spatial growth rates show a variation with frequency, which is similar to that of the amplitude variation with frequency of the self-excited instability measured in our positive column experiments in helium and argon. The comparison between theory and experiment indicates that ion Landau damping is significant for typical experimental conditions.

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Ion–acoustic instability of the positive column

  • D. B. Ilić (a1), G. M. Wheeler (a1), F. W. Crawford (a1) and S. A. Self (a1)

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