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Physics and modelling of microwave streamers at atmospheric pressure

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4 Author(s)
Chaudhury, B. ; Université de Toulouse, UPS, INPT, LAPLACE (Laboratoire Plasma et Conversion d’Energie); 118 Route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse Cedex 9, France and CNRS, LAPLACE, F-31062 Toulouse, France ; Boeuf, J.-P. ; Zhu, Guo-Qiang ; Pascal, O.

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Breakdown in a microwave field leads to the formation of plasmoids that expand in a direction parallel to the incident electric field and form microwave streamers. A two-dimensional model based on solutions of Maxwell’s equations coupled with a quasineutral description of the plasma is used to study the formation of a single streamer formed and confined at the antinode between two incident linearly polarized waves with opposed wave vectors. We discuss the parameters controlling the plasma density in the streamer, the field distribution and elongation speed for incident fields of frequency F = 110 GHz at atmospheric pressure, p = 760 Torr, in dry air (other conditions with the same F/p can be deduced from simple scaling laws). The results show that the large electric field at the tips of the streamer (responsible for the streamer elongation parallel to the incident field) presents successive maxima and minima during the streamer extension. These maxima and minima are associated with resonant effects. When the applied field is only slightly above the critical field, the streamer growth may stop at the first field minimum.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:110 ,  Issue: 11 )

Date of Publication:

Dec 2011

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