Spatial relaxation of electrons in nonisothermal plasmas

Research paper by F. Sigeneger, R. Winkler

Indexed on: 01 Mar '97Published on: 01 Mar '97Published in: Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing


The spatial relaxation of electrons to homogeneous states under the action of space-independent electric fields is investigated in helium, krypton, and N2 plasmas for various electric field strengths. These investigations are based on a new method recently developed for solving the one-dimensional inhomogeneous electron Boltzmann equation in weakly ionized, collision-dominated plasmas. Elastic as well as conservative inelastic collisions of electrons with gas atoms have been included in the kinetic treatment. The spatial relaxation is caused by an imposed direct disturbance in the velocity distribution of the electrons on a spatial boundary. A pronounced dependence of the relaxation structure and the resultant relaxation length on the atomic data of the electron collision processes in different gases has been found. Furthermore the relaxation process sensitively depends on the electric field strength in the region of medium field values.