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The work presented in the article is a study of the heavy particle (ion and neutral) energy flux distributions to the cathode in conditions typical of discharges used for luminous signs for advertising (“neon” signs). The purpose of this work is to evaluate the effect of the gas mixture on the sputtering of the cathode. We have combined two models for this study: a hybrid model of the electrical properties of the cathode region of a glow discharge and a Monte Carlo simulation of the heavy particle trajectories. Using known sputtering yields for Ne, Ar, and Xe on iron cathodes, we estimate the sputtered atom flux for mixtures of Ar/Ne and Xe/Ne as a function of the percent neon in the mixture. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.