Graphics processing unit accelerated three-dimensional model for the simulation of pulsed low-temperature plasmas

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Abstract

A 3-dimensional particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo collision simulation that is fully implemented on a graphics processing unit (GPU) is described and used to determine low-temperature plasma characteristics at high reduced electric field, E/n, in nitrogen gas. Details of implementation on the GPU using the NVIDIA Compute Unified Device Architecture framework are discussed with respect to efficient code execution. The software is capable of tracking around 10 × 106 particles with dynamic weighting and a total mesh size larger than 108 cells. Verification of the simulation is performed by comparing the electron energy distribution function and plasma transport parameters to known Boltzmann Equation (BE) solvers. Under the assumption of a uniform electric field and neglecting the build-up of positive ion space charge, the simulation agrees well with the BE solvers. The model is utilized to calculate plasma characteristics of a pulsed, parallel plate discharge. A photoionization model provides the simulation with additional electrons after the initial seeded electron density has drifted towards the anode. Comparison of the performance benefits between the GPU-implementation versus a CPU-implementation is considered, and a speed-up factor of 13 for a 3D relaxation Poisson solver is obtained. Furthermore, a factor 60 speed-up is realized for parallelization of the electron processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123504
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume21
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

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