Extension of the Bissell–Johnson plasma-sheath model for application to fusion-relevant and general plasmas

Kos, L.; Jelić, N.; Kuhn, S.; Duhovnik, J.
September 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Sep2009, Vol. 16 Issue 9, p093503
Academic Journal
This article presents an approach to solving a special Fredholm-type integral equation of the first kind with a particular kernel containing a modified Bessel function for applications in plasma physics. From the physical point of view, the problem was defined by Bissell and Johnson (B&J) [Phys. Fluids 30, 779 (1987)] as a task to find the potential profile and the ion velocity distribution function in a plane-parallel discharge with a Maxwellian ion source. The B&J model is a generalization of the well-known Tonks–Langmuir (T&L) [Phys. Rev. 34, 876 (1929)] discharge model characterized by a “cold” ion source. Unlike the T&L model, which can be readily solved analytically, attempts to solve the B&J model with a “warm” ion source have been done only numerically. However, the validity of numerical solutions up to date remains constrained to a rather limited range of a crucial independent parameter of the B&J integral equation, which mathematically is the width of a Gaussian distribution and physically represents the ion temperature. It was solved only for moderately warm ion sources. This paper presents the exact numerical solution of the B&J model, which is valid without any restriction regarding the above-mentioned parameter. It is shown that the ion temperature is very different from the temperature of the ion source. The new results with high-temperature ion sources are not only of particular importance for understanding and describing the plasma-sheath boundary in fusion plasmas, but are of considerable interest for discharge problems in general. The eigenvalue of the problem, found analytically by Harrison and Thompson [Proc. Phys. Soc. 74, 145 (1959)] for the particular case of a cold ion source, is here extended to arbitrary ion-source temperatures.


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