One of the challenges with simulating low temperature plasmas involves capturing physics from a wide range of timescales; from electron dynamics on the nanosecond scale, up to chemical processes on the scale of seconds. In addition, the fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and the interaction with plasma facing surfaces should also be taken into account. Reliably predicting the behaviour of these complex interdependent systems requires the use of advanced, scalable simulation codes.
One such code employed at the York Plasma Institute is the Hybrid Plasma Equipment Model (HPEM), developed and maintained by Professor Mark J. Kushner and his Computational Plasma Science and Engineering Group at the University of Michigan. We also collaborate actively with Professor Kushner in the use of these codes.
A key aspect of our simulation work involves benchmarking against experimental results, obtained using our suite of optical plasma diagnostics. Once benchmarked, simulations provide a reliable method to examine fundamental plasma processes not readily accessible in the lab. We then use this knowledge to develop advanced control and optimisation strategies to tailor the plasma properties for individual applications. These applications range from material processing, semiconductor manufacture, biomedical physics and spacecraft propulsion. The information gathered can also be used for rapid prototyping of new source designs in collaboration with CAD software.
A. R. Gibson, Z. Donkó, L. Alelyani, L. Bischoff, G. Hübner, J. Bredin, S. J. Doyle, I. Korolov, K. Niemi, T. Mussenbrock, P. Hartmann, J. Dedrick, J. Schulze, T. Gans, & D. O'Connell, Disrupting the spatio-temporal symmetry of the electron dynamics in atmospheric pressure plasmas by voltage waveform tailoring, Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 28 01LT01 (2019)
S. J. Doyle, A. R. Gibson, J. Flatt, T. S. Ho, R. Boswell, C. Charles, P. Tian, M. J. Kushner & J. P. Dedrick, Spatio-temporal plasma heating mechanisms in a radio-frequency electrothermal microthruster, Plasma sources science & technology 27, 085011 (2018)
S. J. Doyle, T. Lafleur, A. R. Gibson, P. Tian, M. J. Kushner & J. P. Dedrick, Enhanced Control of the Ionization Rate in Radio-Frequency Plasmas with Structured Electrodes via Tailored Voltage Waveforms, Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 26, 125005 (2017)