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Department 1



We report spatially resolved perpendicular and parallel, to the magnetic field, ion velocity distribution function (IVDF) measurements in an expanding argon helicon plasma. The parallel IVDFs, obtained through laser induced fluorescence (LIF), show an ion beam with v ≈ 8000 m/s flowing downstream and confined to the center of the discharge. The ion beam is measurable for tens of centimeters along the expansion axis before the LIF signal fades, likely a result of metastable quenching of the beam ions. The parallel ion beam velocity slows in agreement with expectations for the measured parallel electric field. The perpendicular IVDFs show an ion population with a radially outward flow that increases with distance from the plasma axis. Structures aligned to the expanding magnetic field appear in the DC electric field, the electron temperature, and the plasma density in the plasma plume. These measurements demonstrate that at least two-dimensional and perhaps fully three-dimensional models are needed to accurately describe the spontaneous acceleration of ion beams in expanding plasmas.

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