Kinetic simulation of direct-current driven microdischarges in argon at atmospheric pressure
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Journal of physics: D: applied physics. - London
, 11 p.
University of Antwerp
A one-dimensional, implicit particle-in-cell Monte Carlo collision model is used to simulate the plasma kinetic properties at a steady state in a parallel-plate direct current argon glow microdischarge under various operating conditions, such as driving voltage (301000 V) and gap size (101000 µm) at atmospheric pressure. First, a comparison between rf and dc modes is shown for the same pressure, driving voltage and gap spacing. Furthermore, the effect of gap size scaling (in the range of 101000 µm) on the breakdown voltage, peak electron density and peak electron current density at the breakdown voltage is examined. The breakdown voltage is lower than 150 V in all gaps considered. The microdischarge is found to have a neutral bulk plasma region and a cathode sheath region with size varying with the applied voltage and the discharge gap. In our calculations, the electron and ion densities are of the order of 10181023 m−3, which is in the glow discharge limit, as the ionization degree is lower than 1% . The electron energy distribution function shows a two-energy group distribution at a gap of 10 µm and a three-energy group distribution at larger gaps such as 200 µm and 1000 µm, emphasizing the importance of the gap spacing in dc microdischarges.