2014 Volume 9 Pages 3406055
Lifetimes of most electric propulsion devices are limited owing to electrode erosion and contamination by plasmas. To overcome this problem, a Helicon Electrodeless Advanced Thruster (HEAT) was proposed by our research team. This scheme employs a high-density (∼1013 cm−3) helicon plasma accelerated by the Lorentz force, which is produced by various acceleration methods. For feasibility of this method, a Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) system was developed. The LIF is a powerful tool for plasma diagnostics because it is a non-invasive method that allows high spatial resolution. Using the LIF, it is possible to deduce velocity distribution functions of different particles (ions, atoms, and molecules). In this paper, we report the details of our novel 2D LIF system as well as some preliminary experimental results. Argon ion velocity distributions at different axial and radial locations were obtained using the novel 2D system. Ion velocity was greatest (∼2.8 km/s) at z = −24 cm among all the points measured along the z-axis. Velocity values were approximately 2.7 and 3.2 km/s for radial positions of r = 0 and 3 cm, respectively. Ion temperature values were approximately 0.56 and 0.61 eV at r = 0 and 3 cm, respectively.