Nonequilibrium discharges in air and nitrogen plasmas at atmospheric pressure

  • Kruger C
  • Laux C
  • Yu L
 et al. 
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Abstract

Diffuse glow discharges were produced in low temperature (<2000 K) atmospheric pressure air and nitrogen plasmas with electron number densities in excess of 1012 cm­3, more than six orders of magnitude higher than in thermally heated air at 2000 K. The measured discharge characteristics compare well with the predictions of a two-temperature kinetic model. Experimental and modeling results show that the steady-state electron number density exhibits an S-shaped dependence on the electron temperature, a behavior resulting from competition between ionization and charge-transfer reactions. Non-Maxwellian effects are shown to be unimportant for the prediction of steady-state electron number densities. The power requirements of DC discharges at atmospheric pressure can be reduced by several orders of magnitude using short repetitive high-voltage pulses. Between consecutive pulses, the plasma is sustained by the finite rate of electron recombination. Repetitive discharges with a 100-kHz, 12-kV, 10-ns pulse generator were demonstrated to produce over 1012 electrons/cm3 with an average power of 12 W/cm3, 250 times smaller than a DC discharge at 1012 cm­3.

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Authors

  • Charles H. Kruger

  • Christophe O. Laux

  • Lan Yu

  • Denis M. Packan

  • Laurent Pierrot

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