Physics of Plasmas
An approach to numerically modeling relativistic magnetrons, in which the electrons are represented with a relativistic fluid, is described. A principal effect in the operation of a magnetron is space-charge-limited (SCL) emission of electrons from the cathode. We have developed an approximate SCL emission boundary condition for the fluid electron model. This boundary condition prescribes the flux of electrons as a function of the normal component of the electric field on the boundary. We show the results of a benchmarking activity that applies the fluid SCL boundary condition to the one-dimensional Child–Langmuir diode problem and a canonical two-dimensional diode problem. Simulation results for a two-dimensional A6 magnetron are then presented. Computed bunching of the electron cloud occurs and coincides with significant microwave power generation. Numerical convergence of the solution is considered. Sharp gradients in the solution quantities at the diocotron resonance, spanning an interval of three to four grid cells in the most well-resolved case, are present and likely affect convergence.