Discrete photon implementation for plasma simulations

Andrew Fierro, Jacob Stephens, Sterling Beeson, James Dickens, Andreas Neuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The self-produced light emission from pulsed plasma discharges and its impact on plasma development are challenging to characterize through simulation and modeling, chiefly due to the large number of radiating species and limited computer memory. Often, photo-processes, such as photo-ionization or photo-emission of electrons, are implemented through over-simplifying approximations or neglected altogether. Here, a method applicable to plasma simulations is implemented in a Particle-in-Cell /Monte Carlo Collision model, which is capable of discretely tracking photons and their corresponding wavelengths. Combined with the appropriate cross sections or quantum yields, a wavelength dependent model for photo-ionization or photo-emission may be implemented. Additionally, by resolving the wavelengths of each photon, an emission spectrum for a region of interest may be generated. Simulations for a pure nitrogen environment reveal that the calculated emission profile of the second positive system agrees well with the experimental spectrum of a pulsed, nanosecond discharge in the same spectral region.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


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