Principles of transport in mulitcomponent plasmas

Kaganovich, Igor D.; Franklin, Raoul N. and Demidov, Vladimir I. (2010). Principles of transport in mulitcomponent plasmas. In: Bonitz, Michael; Horing, Norman and Ludwig, Patrick eds. Introduction to Complex Plasmas, Volume 59. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 17–39.




The main principles of transport in multicomponent plasmas are described. Because the bulk plasma is charged positively to keep electrons together with positive ions, negative ions are confined by electrostatic fields inside the plasma and they flow from the plasma periphery toward the center. It is shown that the flow velocity of negative ions is a nonlinear function of the negative ion density. Increasing the negative ion density makes the electron density profile flatter and leads to a decrease of the electric field. Such a nonlinear dependence of the negative ion flow velocity on their density results in the formation of steep gradients of negative ion density, or negative ion fronts. Addition of negative ions makes the plasma afterglow a complex process as well. Typically, two stages of afterglow appear. In the first stage, the negative ions are trapped inside the plasma and only electrons and positive ions can reach the walls. However, at a later time, electrons quickly leave the plasma, and the second stage of afterglow begins, in which electrons are totally absent and an ion–ion plasma forms. During this stage, only the negative and positive ions contribute to the wall fluxes. The complex structure of the radio frequency sheath in strongly electronegative gases is also reviewed. Similar phenomena are observed in dusty plasmas. A possible relevance to ball lightning is discussed.

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