Strong Coulomb coupling influences ion and neutral temperatures in atmospheric pressure plasmas

MD Acciarri and C Moore and SD Baalrud, PLASMA SOURCES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 31, 125005 (2022).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/aca69c

Molecular dynamics simulations are used to model ion and neutral temperature evolution in partially-ionized atmospheric pressure plasma at different ionization fractions. Results show that ion-ion interactions are strongly coupled at ionization fractions as low as 10(-5) and that the temperature evolution is influenced by effects associated with the strong coupling. Specifically, disorder-induced heating is found to rapidly heat ions on a timescale of the ion plasma period (similar to 10 s ps) after an ionization pulse. This is followed by the collisional relaxation of ions and neutrals, which cools ions and heats neutrals on a longer (similar to ns) timescale. Slight heating then occurs over a much longer (similar to 100 s ns) timescale due to ion-neutral three-body recombination. An analytic model of the temperature evolution is developed that agrees with the simulation results. A conclusion is that strong coupling effects are important in atmospheric pressure plasmas.

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