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Effect of magnetic field ripple on parallel electron transport during microwave plasma heating in the Proto-MPEX linear plasm...

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Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
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The Prototype Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (Proto-MPEX) is a linear plasma device located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop the plasma source concept for the Materials Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX). Recent experiments have demonstrated the heating of electrons in a high-density deuterium plasma (ne ~ 5 × 10^19 m^−3) via electron Bernstein waves and source plasma production via helicon waves in this linear configuration. Moreover, experimental observations suggest that the magnetic ripple adversely affects the parallel transport of the heated electrons toward the target where material samples are to be exposed to the plasma. To understand the transport process during microwave application, a test-particle Monte-Carlo (MC) code has been developed that incorporates the effects of Coulomb collisions, magnetic mirror adiabatic trapping and electron cyclotron interaction via a quasilinear RF heating operator. MC calculations indicate that the absence of 2nd turning points along the trajectory of cyclotron heated electrons significantly reduces adiabatic trapping and maximizes power transport to the Target surface. Thermalization of cyclotron heating electrons is analyzed with the MC code and it is found that for conditions relevant to ProtoMPEX, a significant fraction of the absorbed heating power is coupled to the Target surface via ballistic fast electrons; however, under certain conditions, up to 60% of the absorbed RF power can be dissipated via thermalization of the fast electrons on the background plasma. Results are compared with experimental measurements. Finally, the implications of the results are discussed in the context of the upcoming MPEX device.