Numerical description of discharge characteristics of the plasma needle

Brok, W. J. M.; Bowden, M. D.; van Dijk, J.; van der Mullen, J. J. A. M. and Kroesen, G. M. W. (2005). Numerical description of discharge characteristics of the plasma needle. Journal of Applied Physics, 98(1), article no. 013302 (8 pages).



The plasma needle is a small atmospheric, nonthermal, radio-frequency discharge, generated at the tip of a needle, which can be used for localized disinfection of biological tissues. Although several experiments have characterized various qualities of the plasma needle, discharge characteristics and electrical properties are still not well known. In order to provide initial estimates on electrical properties and quantities such as particle densities, we employed a two-dimensional, time-dependent fluid model to describe the plasma needle. In this model the balance equation is solved in the drift-diffusion approach for various species and the electron energy, as well as Poisson's equation. We found that the plasma production occurs in the sheath region and results in a steady flux of reactive species outwards. Even at small (< 0.1%) admixtures of N-2 to the He background, N-2(+) is the dominant ion. The electron density is typically 10(11) cm(-3) and the dissipated power is in the order of 10 mW. These results are consistent with the experimental data available and can give direction to the practical development of the plasma needle. (c) 2005 American Institute of Physics.

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