Practical considerations for modeling streamer discharges in air with radiation transport

J. Stephens, M. Abide, A. Fierro, A. Neuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Two basic challenges limiting the simulation capabilities of the streamer discharge community are the efficient resolution of Poisson's equation and the proper treatment of photoionization. This paper addresses both of these challenges, beginning with a graphics processing unit executed multigrid (MG) algorithm to efficiently solve Poisson's equation on a massively parallel platform. When utilized in a 3D particle-in-cell (PIC) model with radiation transport, the MG solver is demonstrated to reduce the required simulation time by approximately a factor of three over a conventional Jacobi scheme. Next, a fully theoretical photoionization model, based on the basic properties of N2 and O2 molecules is developed as an alternative to widely utilized semi-empirical models. Following a review of N2 emission properties, a total of eight transitions from only three excited states are reported as a base set of transitions for a practical physics-based photoionization model. A 3D PIC simulation of streamer formation is demonstrated with two dominant transitions included in the radiation transport model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number075007
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 6 2018


  • VUV emission
  • low temperature plasma
  • multigrid simulation
  • radiation model


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