The Penning fusion experiment (PFX) studies the feasibility of using a Penning trap as a fusion confinement device. Such use would require spatial and/or temporal compression of the plasma to overcome the Brillouin density limit imposed by the nonneutrality of Penning trap plasmas. In an earlier experiment, we achieved enhanced plasma density at the center of a pure, electron plasma confined in a hyperbolic, Penning trap by inducing spherically convergent flow in a nonthermal plasma(1,2,3). The goal of this work is to induce similar flow in a positive ion plasma confined in the virtual cathode provided by a spherical, uniform density electron plasma. This approach promises the greatest flexibility in operating with multi-species plasmas (e.g. D+/T+) or implementing temporal compression schemes such as the Periodically Oscillating Plasma Sphere of Nebel and Barnes(4,5). Here, we report on our work to produce and diagnose the necessary electron plasma.

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