W. Bernstein, H. Leinbach, P. J. Kellogg, S. J. Monson, T. Hallinan

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Further laboratory measurements of the beam-plasma discharge (BPD) produced when an energetic electron beam traverses an initially neutral gas are presented. The experimental data indicate that the critical beam current I//c at energy V, magnetic field B, and system length L required for ignition obeys the empirical relationship I//c varies directly as V**3**/**2/B**0**. **7 PL at pressures P less than 2 multiplied by 10** minus **5 torr. This relationship appears to describe primarily the accumulation of ambient plasma density, collisionally produced by the beam itself, to a critical value at which ignition occurs. Additional measurements of the narrow-band cyclotron-related waves observed at beam currents below BPD threshold do not clearly establish whether this instability is a necessary precursor to the BPD. The relevance of these experiments to past and planned electron beam experiments in space is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7271-7278
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberA12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

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