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Plasma Sci. Technol. ›› 2018, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (7): 075503.doi: 10.1088/2058-6272/aac012

• Plasma Technology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Numerical study of low-frequency discharge oscillations in a 5 kW Hall thruster

Le YANG (杨乐), Tianping ZHANG (张天平), Juanjuan CHEN (陈娟娟) and Yanhui JIA (贾艳辉)   


  1. Science and Technology on Vacuum Technology and Physics Laboratory, Lanzhou Institute of Physics, Lanzhou 730000, People’s Republic of China
  • Received:2018-01-10 Published:2018-04-25


A two-dimensional particle-in-cell plasma model is built in the R–Z plane to investigate the low-frequency plasma oscillations in the discharge channel of a 5 kW LHT-140 Hall thruster. In addition to the elastic, excitation, and ionization collisions between neutral atoms and electrons, the Coulomb collisions between electrons and electrons and between electrons and ions are analyzed. The sheath characteristic distortion is also corrected. Simulation results indicate the capability of the built model to reproduce the low-frequency oscillation with high accuracy. The oscillations of the discharge current and ion density produced by the model are consistent with the existing conclusions. The model predicts a frequency that is consistent with that calculated by the zero-dimensional theoretical model.

Key words: Hall thruster, low-frequency oscillations, sheath, Coulomb collisions