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Cathode fall characteristics in a dc atmospheric pressure glow discharge

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journal contribution
posted on 20.08.2009, 11:22 by J.J. Shi, Michael G. Kong
Atmospheric pressure glow discharges are attractive for a wide range of material-processing applications largely due to their operation flexibility afforded by removal of the vacuum system. These relatively new atmospheric plasmas are nonequilibrium plasmas with gas temperature around 100 °C and electron temperature in the 1–10 eV range. Their appearance is characteristically diffuse and uniform, and their temporal features are repetitive and stable. Of the reported numerical studies of atmospheric glow discharges, most are based on the hydrodynamic approximation in which electrons are assumed to be in equilibrium with the local electric field. Spectroscopic and electrical measurements suggest however that the cathode fall region is fundamentally nonequilibrium. To this end we consider a hybrid model that treats the cathode fall region kinetically but retains a hydrodynamic description for the region between the thin cathode fall layer and the anode. Using this hybrid model, a helium discharge system excited at dc is studied numerically for a very wide current density range that spans from Townsend dark discharge, through normal glow discharge, to abnormal glow discharge. Numerical results confirm many distinct characteristics of glow discharges and compare well with that of low-pressure glow discharges. Generic relationships, such as that between the electric field and the current density, are also established and are in good agreement with experimental data. This hybrid model is simple and insightful as a theoretical tool for atmospheric pressure glow discharges.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


SHI, J.J. and KONG, M.G., 2003. Cathode fall characteristics in a dc atmospheric pressure glow discharge. Journal of Applied Physics, 94(9), pp.5504-5513.


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Copyright 2003 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the authors and the American Institute of Physics. This article appeared in the Journal of Applied Physics and may be found at:





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