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Spherical Ionization Waves


Spherical Ionization Waves

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-PLS/Plasma Physics/Physics

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Glazova M B

Leading Institute
Institute of Thermophysics, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Novosibirsk

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, Trondheim

Project summary

The goal of the project is to investigate a structure and properties of a stratified volume discharge in molecular gases at low pressures. The phenomenon was discovered in the Institute of Thermophysics of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (Novosibirsk) in 1997. The stratification appears in molecular gases in the range of pressures 100 Pa and represents a set of closed concentric lighting regions around the positive electrode placed inside a metal vacuum chamber which serves as a negative electrode. This lighting regions correspond to the regions of spatial non-uniform distribution of electrons and excited ions and neutral molecules. An essential property of the discharge is the stability of the lighting regions to external perturbations and the macroscopic life-time of existence compared to all characteristic times of plasma-dynamic and kinetic processes in the discharge.

The aim of the project is experimental and theoretical study of this phenomenon. In the experiments, it is intended to investigate a role of gas species and pressure, electrical characteristics of a discharge, the role of cathode and anode materials, geometry of discharge region and electrodes in the creation and the effect on the characteristics of a spherical discharge. Probe, laser, and spectroscopic diagnostics methods will be applied. For theoretical analysis, kinetic Boltzmann equation for spatial and energy electron distribution function in non-local approximation will be used for real geometry, elastic, non-elastic, ionization and volume recombination processes taken into account.

In terms of application, non-homogeneous and periodical distributions are important for the creation of plasma-chemical low pressure reactors and novel lighting sources. In reactors, it is possible to use the stationary stratified structure of DC discharge for local reagent input (supply) and output of the reaction products. It is also known that in stratified discharges the principle of minimum power is fulfilled. This can lead to a more effective use energy deposition into a discharge in comparison with other plasma methods of particle activation. The effectiveness of transforming electric power into light is also important for creating new sources of light on the basis of a stratified discharge. Moreover, new sources of light make it possible to change quickly the intensity of light energy and its spectral composition.


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