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Measurement Techniques in Space Plasmas, Particles, Fields, R. The magnetic field at the position of the trap between the poles of the electromagnet was obtained through a measurement of the cyclotron frequency of the electrons in the trap by excitation of the motional spectrum through external RF excitation.
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The procedure for obtaining the motional spectrum is described elsewhere and we will not elaborate this here [ 24 , 25 , 32 ]. The magnetic field obtained by measurement of the cyclotron frequency is plotted against the current in the electromagnet for a few measurements. This yields the magnetic field at the trap center for all currents Fig. The dimensions of the trap extend 7 mm radially and 5 mm axially from the trap center. The magnetic field is measured using a hall probe along the X , Y and Z axes from the centre of the pole pieces of the electromagnet.
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The magnetic field can be considered to be homogeneous within the dimensions of the trap, within a small variation. The variation in any axis was found to be less than 0. Magnetic fields obtained from the motional spectrum shown as a function of the current in the electromagnet. Inset shows the dip corresponding to the cyclotron frequency from the motional resonance spectrum.
The trapped non neutral plasma undergoes losses both through collisions and torques induced on the plasma cloud due to anharmonicities present in the trap. As the confinement time is limited by both, collisions with background neutrals, as well as by the inherent instability of the electron plasma, we measure the expansion rate of the plasma as a function of the magnetic field as described in the following section [ 12 , 15 , 27 , 34 ]:. The trap voltage is set at a higher value such as 10V to ensure that the entire energy spectrum of electrons is confined by the potential. Loading of the electrons is stopped and simultaneously the storage voltage is reduced to zero.
This results in the escape of electrons, with electrons energies greater than eV exiting the trapping region faster than the lower energy less than eV electrons that are confined within the potential.
The schematic of this sequence is shown in Fig. The time increases as the step up voltage, as expected, since higher step up voltages, results in the recapture of a wider energy range of electrons, whereas lower step up voltages result in capturing only the electrons of energies less than the range corresponding to the lower voltage.
As the axial energy distribution measurements we have carried out indicate, the electron energies are centered around 5V, the bias on the electron source [ 33 ]. This measurement also points to the dependence of the electron cloud expansion rate on the energy range of the electrons, i. The signal decay versus time for different magnetic fields is shown in the Fig. One can note that in all situations measuring the electron loss as a function of time, the signal is initially constant and then sharply drops.
The absence of an exponential fall off pattern throughout the measurement time, we conjecture, has to do with the electrons gaining velocity and hence collision frequency as they diffuse out of the trap.