Cu ion current measurements in a vacuum arc with a black body electrode configuration

Isak I. Beilis, Yosef Koulik, Raymond L. Boxman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ion current ejected from a vacuum arc black body assembly (VABBA) with a Cu cathode is studied. In the VABBA, cathode material is emitted into a closed volume formed by a water-cooled cylindrical cathode and a cup-shaped W or Ta anode heated by the arc. If this volume is filled with a dense plasma when anode is hot, it acts as a black body toward macroparticles while a directed plasma jet is emitted through a single small anode aperture or a shower head aperture array. Arc currents are I=150 - 300 A and arc time 120 s. The ion current density Ji is measured by an electrical probe. By inserting the probe through a single 4-mm hole in the Ta anode, it is found that Ji in the closed volume increased with I from ∼ 5.7 A cm2 at I=150 A, to 18.4 A cm2 at I=225 A. The plasma density is estimated to be ∼1015 - 10-16 cm-3 inside the closed volume. Outside of a W shower head anode with 250 holes with 1-mm diameter in a 200-A arc, the peak Ji in the axial direction decreased from ∼ 0.3 to ∼ 0.12 A cm2 when the distance from the anode to the probe increased from 3 to 50 mm. This result agrees with previous measurements in the hot refractory planar anode vacuum arc.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6502733
Pages (from-to)1987-1991
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2013


  • Electrical probe
  • hot refractory anode
  • ion current
  • shower anode
  • vacuum arc


Dive into the research topics of 'Cu ion current measurements in a vacuum arc with a black body electrode configuration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this