Experimental and numerical study of radio fequency atmospheric pressure glow discharges
2014-01-16T14:12:19Z (GMT) by
Radio frequency (rf) atmospheric pressure glow discharges (APGDs) have received growing attention for their exciting scope of new science and their immense potential for widespread applications. While geometrically similar to conventional low-pressure discharges used in the semiconductor industry for decades, rf APGDs present new physics that require investigation. This thesis presents an experimental and computational study of helium rfAPGDs aimed at making a contribution to the current understanding of these discharges and enabling their optimization for different applications. The timely interest and significance of this work is highlighted by the publication of different parts of this thesis in 10 peer-reviewed international journals. Starting with the electron trapping in rf APGDs, the thesis looks into the electron heating mechanism responsible for sustaining the discharges, the influence of the rf excitation frequency on the discharge characteristics, the role of impurities in the discharge chemistry as well as the evolution of the discharge as the size is reduced down to microplasma dimensions. The findings of this research are based on the synergistic use of electrical measurements, optical diagnostics and self-developed computational models. With the knowledge gained from this thesis, rf-APGDs can be readily used for a wide-range of applications including biological decontaminations, nanostructure fabrication and portable gas analyzers.