Computational study of plasma sustainability in radio frequency micro-discharges
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
New York, N.Y. :American Institute of Physics
Journal of applied physics / American Institute of Physics. - New York, N.Y., 1937, currens
, p. 1-11
University of Antwerp
We apply an implicit particle-in-cell Monte-Carlo (PIC-MC) method to study a radio-frequency argon microdischarge at steady state in the glow discharge limit, in which the microdischarge is sustained by secondary electron emission from the electrodes. The plasma density, electron energy distribution function (EEDF), and electron temperature are calculated in a wide range of operating conditions, including driving voltage, microdischarge gap, and pressure. Also, the effect of gap size scaling (in the range of 50-1000 μm) on the plasma sustaining voltage and peak electron density at atmospheric pressure is examined, which has not been explored before. In our simulations, three different EEDFs, i.e., a so-called three temperature hybrid mode, a two temperature α mode, and a two temperature γ mode distribution, are identified at different gaps and voltages. The maximum sustaining voltage to avoid a transition from the glow mode to an arc is predicted, as well as the minimum sustaining voltage for a steady glow discharge. Our calculations elucidate that secondary electrons play an essential role in sustaining the discharge, and as a result the relationship between breakdown voltage and gap spacing is far away from the Paschen law at atmospheric pressure.