A plasma is a gaseous system that contains large numbers of electrons and ions that are subject to forces produced by electric and magnetic fields. Weakly ionized plasmas, where the plasma density is much lower than the background gas density, are common in laboratory, atmospheric, and astrophysical situations. Theoretical calculations of plasma properties are challenging due to the complexity of the differential equations used to characterize fundamental physics. Particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations bypass the mathematical difficulties associated with analytic models, at the expense of more complex and time-consuming computer calculations. In this work we developed a one dimensional PIC simulation of a weakly ionized plasma. We use a Monte Carlo technique to include a simplified model of electron-gas and ion-gas collisions. The results of preliminary simulations give good qualitative agreement with simplified theoretical models of plasma sheath formation and ambipolar diffusion.
Zheng, Xiaochuan (Chloe) and Doyle, James
"Development of a Particle-in-Cell/Monte Carlo Simulation for Weakly Ionized Plasmas,"
Macalester Journal of Physics and Astronomy: Vol. 11:
1, Article 18.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/mjpa/vol11/iss1/18