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Title: Dark-to-arc transition in field emission dominated atmospheric microdischarges

We study the voltage-current characteristics of gas discharges driven by field emission of electrons at the microscale. Particle-in-cell with Monte Carlo collision calculations are first verified by comparison with breakdown voltage measurements and then used to investigate atmospheric discharges in nitrogen at gaps from 1 to 10 μm. The results indicate the absence of the classical glow discharge regime because field electron emission replaces secondary electron emission as the discharge sustaining mechanism. Additionally, the onset of arcing is significantly delayed due to rarefied effects in electron transport. While field emission reduces the breakdown voltage, the power required to sustain an arc of the same density in microgaps is as much as 30% higher than at macroscale.
Authors:
 [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907 (United States)
  2. School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907 (United States)
  3. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22490093
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 8; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; BREAKDOWN; CURRENTS; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; ELECTRON EMISSION; ELECTRON TRANSFER; FIELD EMISSION; GLOW DISCHARGES; MONTE CARLO METHOD; NITROGEN; PLASMA SIMULATION