Guided ionization waves : theory and experiments

Lu, X., Naidis, G. V., Laroussi, M., & Ostrikov, K. (2014) Guided ionization waves : theory and experiments. Physics Reports, 540(3), pp. 123-166.

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Abstract

This review focuses on one of the fundamental phenomena that occur upon application of sufficiently strong electric fields to gases, namely the formation and propagation of ionization waves-streamers. The dynamics of streamers is controlled by strongly nonlinear coupling, in localized streamer tip regions, between enhanced (due to charge separation) electric field and ionization and transport of charged species in the enhanced field. Streamers appear in nature (as initial stages of sparks and lightning, as huge structures-sprites above thunderclouds), and are also found in numerous technological applications of electrical discharges. Here we discuss the fundamental physics of the guided streamer-like structures-plasma bullets which are produced in cold atmospheric-pressure plasma jets. Plasma bullets are guided ionization waves moving in a thin column of a jet of plasma forming gases (e.g.,He or Ar) expanding into ambient air. In contrast to streamers in a free (unbounded) space that propagate in a stochastic manner and often branch, guided ionization waves are repetitive and highly-reproducible and propagate along the same path-the jet axis. This property of guided streamers, in comparison with streamers in a free space, enables many advanced time-resolved experimental studies of ionization waves with nanosecond precision. In particular, experimental studies on manipulation of streamers by external electric fields and streamer interactions are critically examined. This review also introduces the basic theories and recent advances on the experimental and computational studies of guided streamers, in particular related to the propagation dynamics of ionization waves and the various parameters of relevance to plasma streamers. This knowledge is very useful to optimize the efficacy of applications of plasma streamer discharges in various fields ranging from health care and medicine to materials science and nanotechnology.

Impact and interest:

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126 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 73509
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Funding Details: ARC, Australian Research Council
Keywords: Atmospheric-pressure plasmas, Guided streamers, Ionization phenomena, Plasma bullets, Plasma dynamics, Plasma jets
DOI: 10.1016/j.physrep.2014.02.006
ISSN: 0370-1573
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 08 Jul 2014 04:46
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 02:07

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