Nanosecond optical imaging spectroscopy is employed to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of the plasma plume expanding from a 4.2 mm-diameter, 20 mm-long cylindrical capacitively coupled electrothermal radiofrequency (rf) driven thruster using 10 W of power at 12.50 MHz and an argon pressure of 1.5 Torr. On-axis, the plume exhibits four distinct peaks of optical emission intensity within the rf period. The plume has a spherical shape with a transient radial extension (during half of the rf cycle) at the thruster exit plane due to an rf current to ground when the grounded electrode acts as an anode.

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