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We describe ion and electron temperature measurements in the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) MHD wind tunnel with the goal of understanding limitations on the lifetime of our Taylor-state plasma. A simple model based on the equilibrium eigenvalue and Spitzer resistivity predicted the lifetime satisfactorily during the first phase of the plasma evolution. We measured an average Tₑ along a chord by taking the ratio of the CIII97.7 nm to CIV155 nm line intensities using a vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) monochromator. We also recorded local measurements of Tₑ and nₑ using a double Langmuir probe in order to inform our interpretation of the VUV data. Our results indicated that the plasma decayed inductively during a large part of the evolution. Ion Doppler spectroscopy measurements suggested that ions cooled more slowly than would be expected from thermal equilibration with the electrons, which maintained a constant temperature throughout the lifetime of the plasma.


taylor states, magnetized plasma, spectroscopy, plasma lifetime, equilibration rate, e-folding time

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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