Upstream ionization instability associated with a current-free double layer

A. Aanesland*, C. Charles, M. A. Lieberman, R. W. Boswell

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    A low frequency instability has been observed using various electrostatic probes in a low-pressure expanding helicon plasma. The instability is associated with the presence of a current-free double layer (DL). The frequency of the instability increases linearly with the potential drop of the DL, and simultaneous measurements show their coexistence. A theory for an upstream ionization instability has been developed, which shows that electrons accelerated through the DL increase the ionization upstream and are responsible for the observed instability. The theory is in good agreement with the experimental results.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number075003
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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