The current-neutralization fraction of a rotating and propagating light ion beam (LIB) injected into a low density plasma is investigated numerically. The beam space charge is essentially neutralized by a redistribution of the background plasma electrons in a time duration equal to the inverse of electron plasma frequency. When the density of the background plasma is comparable with that of the beam, incomplete current neutralization occurs because the strong magnetic field induced by the intense ion beam restricts the return plasma current.
In the simulation, the ion beam and the background plasma are treated as the fluids coupled with Maxwell's equations and Ohm's law, including the effect of the magnetic field on electrical conductivity. The calculations assume that the ion beam is injected in an unsteady fashion into the uniform plasma. It is found that the return current strongly depends on the density of the background plasma. The beam deceleration and the acceleration of the beam head and tail are also considered.