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Ion–Neutral Collision Modeling Using Classical Scattering With Spin-Orbit Free Interaction Potential

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2 Author(s)
Samuel J. Araki ; Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA ; Richard E. Wirz

A particle-in-cell Monte Carlo collision model is developed to explore dominant collisional effects on high-velocity xenon ions incident to a quiescent xenon gas at low neutral pressures. The range of neutral pressure and collisionality examined are applicable for electric propulsion as well as plasma processing devices; therefore, the computational technique described herein can be applied to more complex simulations of those devices. Momentum and resonant charge-exchange collisions between ions and background neutrals are implemented using two different models, classical scattering with spin-orbit free potential and variable-hard-sphere model, depending on the incident particle energy. The primary and charge-exchange ions are tracked separately, and their trajectories within a well-defined “Test Cell” domain are determined. Predicted electrode currents as a function of the Test Cell pressure are compared with electrode currents measured in an ion gun experiment. The simulation results agree well with the experiment up to a Test Cell pressure corresponding to a mean free path of the Test Cell length and then start to deviate with increasing collisionality at higher pressures. This discrepancy at higher pressures is likely due to the increasing influence of secondary electrons emitted from electrodes due to the high-velocity impacts of heavy species (i.e., beam ions and fast neutrals created by charge-exchange interaction) at the electrode surfaces.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 3 )