Ion current on a small spherical attractive probe in a weakly ionized plasma with ion-neutral collisions (kinetic approach)

Zobnin, A. V.; Usachev, A. D.; Petrov, O. F.; Fortov, V. E.
April 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Apr2008, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p043705
Academic Journal
The ion flux on a small attractive sphere (the sphere radius is much less than the Debye length) and the electric potential distribution around the sphere charged in a stationary weakly ionized plasma are calculated by the direct solution of the kinetic equation with the Bhatnagar–Gross–Krook collision term. Only a weak dependence of the ion flux on the electron temperature is found. An analytical approximation of the calculated ion current–voltage characteristics is proposed for intermediate collisionalities, where neither a collisionless theory nor a continuum fluid approach is valid. This approximation was used for calculation of the floating sphere potential. A reasonable agreement of the calculated floating sphere potential with prior numerical calculations is found.


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