Development of an electron avalanche and its transition into streamers

E. E. Kunhardt, Y. Tzeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper results are presented from an investigation of the growth of ionization in nitrogen, in a uniform electric field, starting from one or more initiatory electrons. The electrons are described by the distribution function f(vrt) while the ions are assumed stationary. The electron distribution function is obtained with use of Monte Carlo methods, taking into account, self-consistently, collective effects due to the space-charge electric field generated by the electrons and ions. From this kinetic investigation, we have gained insight into the avalanche-to-streamer transition and the role that the velocity distribution and photoionization play in the dynamics of streamers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1410-1421
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1988 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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