Influence of strong Coulomb coupling on diffusion in atmospheric pressure plasmas

MD Acciarri and C Moore and SD Baalrud, PLASMA SOURCES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 32, 115004 (2023).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/ad0743

Ion diffusion in atmospheric pressure plasmas is examined and particular attention is paid to the fact that ion-ion interactions can be influenced by strong Coulomb coupling. Three regimes are identified. At low ionization fractions ( xi less than or similar to 10-6 ), standard weakly correlated ion-neutral interactions set the diffusion rate. At moderate ionization fractions ( 10-6 less than or similar to xi less than or similar to 10-2 ) there is a transition from ion-neutral to ion- ion collisions setting the diffusion rate. In this regime, the effect of strong Coulomb coupling in ion-ion collisions is accounted for by applying the mean force kinetic theory. Since both ion-neutral and ion- ion interactions contribute a comparable amount to the total diffusion rate, models (such as particle-in-cell or fluid) must account for both contributions. At high ionization fractions ( xi greater than or similar to 10-2 ), strongly correlated ion-ion collisions dominate and the plasma is heated substantially by a disorder-induced heating (DIH) process associated with strong correlations. The temperature increase due to DIH strongly influences the ion diffusion rate. This effect becomes even more important, and occurs at lower ionization fractions, as the pressure increases above atmospheric pressure. In addition to ion diffusion, DIH affects the neutral gas temperature, therefore influencing the neutral diffusion rate. Model predictions are tested using molecular dynamics simulations, which included a Monte Carlo collision routine to simulate the effect of ion-neutral collisions at the lowest ionization fractions. The model and simulations show good agreement over a broad range of ionization fractions. The results provide a model for ion diffusion, on a wide range of ionization fractions and pressures, solely considering the elastic contribution to the diffusion coefficient-as an illustration of how strong Coulomb coupling influences diffusion processes in general.

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