Particle-in-cell modeling of streamer branching in CO2 gas

Dmitry Levko, Michael Pachuilo, Laxminarayan L Raja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The mechanism of streamer branching remains one of the unsolved problems of low-temperature plasma physics. The understanding of this phenomenon requires very high-fidelity models that include, for instance, the kinetic description of electrons. In this paper, we use a two-dimensional particle-in-cell Monte Carlo collisional model to study the branching of anode-directed streamers propagating through short cathode-anode gap filled with atmospheric-pressure CO2 gas. We observe three key phenomena leading to the streamer branching at the considered conditions: flattening of the streamer head, the decrease of the streamer head thickness, and the generation at the streamer head of electrons having the energy larger than 50 eV. For the conditions of our studies, the non-homogeneous distribution of such energetic electrons at the streamer head is probably the primary mechanism responsible for the streamer branching.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354004
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 9 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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