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In this study, a detailed numerical model is developed to simulate the xenon plasma near-field plume from a Hall thruster. The model uses a detailed fluid model to describe the electrons and a particle-based kinetic approach is used to model the heavy xenon ions and atoms. The detailed model is applied to compute the near field plume of a small, 200 W Hall thruster. Results from the detailed model are compared with the standard modeling approach that employs the Boltzmann model. The usefulness of the model detailed is assessed through direct comparisons with a number of different measured data sets. The comparisons illustrate that the detailed model accurately predicts a number of features of the measured data not captured by the simpler Boltzmann approach. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.