Neutral depletion versus repletion due to ionization

Fruchtman, A.; Makrinich, G.; Raimbault, J.-L.; Liard, L.; Rax, J.-M.; Chabert, P.
May 2008
Physics of Plasmas;May2008, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p057102
Academic Journal
Recent theoretical analyses which predicted unexpected effects of neutral depletion in both collisional and collisionless plasmas are reviewed. We focus on the depletion of collisionless neutrals induced by strong ionization of a collisionless plasma and contrast this depletion with the effect of strong ionization on thermalized neutrals. The collisionless plasma is analyzed employing a kinetic description. The collisionless neutrals and the plasma are coupled through volume ionization and wall recombination only. The profiles of density and pressure both of the plasma and of the neutral-gas and the profile of the ionization rate are calculated. It is shown that for collisionless neutrals the ionization results in neutral depletion, while when neutrals are thermalized the ionization induces a maximal neutral-density at the discharge center, which we call neutral repletion. The difference between the two cases stems from the relation between the neutral density and pressure. The pressure of the collisionless neutral-gas turns out to be maximal where its density is minimal, in contrast to the case of a thermalized neutral gas.


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