# One-dimensional hybrid-direct kinetic simulation of the discharge plasma in a Hall thruster

## Abstract

In order to model the non-equilibrium plasma within the discharge region of a Hall thruster, the velocity distribution functions (VDFs) must be obtained accurately. A direct kinetic (DK) simulation method that directly solves the plasma Boltzmann equation can achieve better resolution of VDFs in comparison to particle simulations, such as the particle-in-cell (PIC) method that inherently include statistical noise. In this paper, a one-dimensional hybrid-DK simulation, which uses a DK simulation for heavy species and a fluid model for electrons, is developed and compared to a hybrid-PIC simulation. Time-averaged results obtained from the hybrid-DK simulation are in good agreement with hybrid-PIC results and experimental data. It is shown from a comparison of using a kinetic simulation and solving the continuity equation that modeling of the neutral atoms plays an important role for simulations of the Hall thruster discharge plasma. In addition, low and high frequency plasma oscillations are observed. Although the kinetic nature of electrons is not resolved due to the use of a fluid model, the hybrid-DK model provides spatially and temporally well-resolved plasma properties and an improved resolution of VDFs for heavy species with less statistical noise in comparison to the hybrid-PIC method.

- Authors:

- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 (United States)
- CFD Research Corporation, Huntsville, Alabama 35805 (United States)

- Publication Date:

- OSTI Identifier:
- 22068931

- Resource Type:
- Journal Article

- Journal Name:
- Physics of Plasmas

- Additional Journal Information:
- Journal Volume: 19; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: (c) 2012 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X

- Country of Publication:
- United States

- Language:
- English

- Subject:
- 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; 71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; BOLTZMANN EQUATION; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; CONTINUITY EQUATIONS; DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS; ELECTRIC DISCHARGES; ELECTRONS; EXPERIMENTAL DATA; FLOW MODELS; NON-EQUILIBRIUM PLASMA; ONE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; PLASMA SIMULATION; PLASMA WAVES; THRUSTERS

### Citation Formats

```
Hara, Kentaro, Boyd, Iain D., and Kolobov, Vladimir I.
```*One-dimensional hybrid-direct kinetic simulation of the discharge plasma in a Hall thruster*. United States: N. p., 2012.
Web. doi:10.1063/1.4768430.

```
Hara, Kentaro, Boyd, Iain D., & Kolobov, Vladimir I.
```*One-dimensional hybrid-direct kinetic simulation of the discharge plasma in a Hall thruster*. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4768430.

```
Hara, Kentaro, Boyd, Iain D., and Kolobov, Vladimir I. Thu .
"One-dimensional hybrid-direct kinetic simulation of the discharge plasma in a Hall thruster". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4768430.
```

```
@article{osti_22068931,
```

title = {One-dimensional hybrid-direct kinetic simulation of the discharge plasma in a Hall thruster},

author = {Hara, Kentaro and Boyd, Iain D. and Kolobov, Vladimir I.},

abstractNote = {In order to model the non-equilibrium plasma within the discharge region of a Hall thruster, the velocity distribution functions (VDFs) must be obtained accurately. A direct kinetic (DK) simulation method that directly solves the plasma Boltzmann equation can achieve better resolution of VDFs in comparison to particle simulations, such as the particle-in-cell (PIC) method that inherently include statistical noise. In this paper, a one-dimensional hybrid-DK simulation, which uses a DK simulation for heavy species and a fluid model for electrons, is developed and compared to a hybrid-PIC simulation. Time-averaged results obtained from the hybrid-DK simulation are in good agreement with hybrid-PIC results and experimental data. It is shown from a comparison of using a kinetic simulation and solving the continuity equation that modeling of the neutral atoms plays an important role for simulations of the Hall thruster discharge plasma. In addition, low and high frequency plasma oscillations are observed. Although the kinetic nature of electrons is not resolved due to the use of a fluid model, the hybrid-DK model provides spatially and temporally well-resolved plasma properties and an improved resolution of VDFs for heavy species with less statistical noise in comparison to the hybrid-PIC method.},

doi = {10.1063/1.4768430},

journal = {Physics of Plasmas},

issn = {1070-664X},

number = 11,

volume = 19,

place = {United States},

year = {2012},

month = {11}

}