Analysis of Magnetic Field Plasma Interactions Using Micro Particles as Probes
The interaction between a magnetic field and plasma close to a nonconductive surface is of interest for both science and technology. In space, crustal magnetic fields on celestial bodies without atmosphere can interact with the solar wind. In advanced technologies such as those used in fusion or spaceflight, magnetic fields can be used to either control a plasma or protect surfaces exposed to the high heat loads produced by plasma. In this paper, a method will be discussed for investigating magnetic field plasma interactions close to a nonconductive surface inside a Gaseous Electronics Conference reference cell employing dust particles as probes. To accomplish this, a magnet covered by a glass plate was exposed to a low power argon plasma. The magnetic field was strong enough to magnetize the electrons, while not directly impacting the dynamics of the ions or the dust particles used for diagnostics. In order to investigate the interaction of the plasma with the magnetic field and the nonconductive surface, micron-sized dust particles were introduced into the plasma and their trajectories were recorded with a high-speed camera. Based on the resulting particle trajectories, the accelerations of the dust particles were determined and acceleration maps over the field of view were generated which are representative of the forces acting on the particles. The results show that the magnetic field is responsible for the development of strong electric fields in the plasma, in both horizontal and vertical directions, leading to complex motion of the dust particles.