Multi-scale modelling of pulsed nanosecond dielectric barrier plasma discharges in plane-to-plane geometry

Sharath Nagaraja, Vigor Yang, Igor Adamovich

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100 Citations (Scopus)


An integrated theoretical and numerical framework is developed to study the dynamics of energy coupling, gas heating and generation of active species by repetitively pulsed nanosecond dielectric barrier discharges (NS DBDs) in air. The work represents one of the first attempts to simulate, in a self-consistent manner, multiple (more than 100) nanosecond pulses. Detailed information is obtained about the electric-field transients during each voltage pulse, and accumulation of plasma generated species and gas heating over ms timescales. The plasma is modelled using a two-temperature, detailed chemistry scheme, with ions and neutral species in thermal equilibrium at the gas temperature, and electrons in thermal nonequilibrium. The analysis is conducted with pressures and pulsing frequency in the range 40-100 Torr and 1-105 Hz, respectively. The input electrical energy is directly proportional to the number density, and remains fairly constant on a per molecule basis from pulse to pulse. Repetitive pulsing results in uniform production of atomic oxygen in the discharge volume via electron-impact dissociation during voltage pulses, and through quenching of excited nitrogen molecules in the afterglow. The ion Joule effect causes rapid gas heating of ∼40 K/pulse in the cathode sheath and generates weak acoustic waves. Conductive heat loss to the walls during the time interval between voltage pulses prevents overheating of the cathode layer and development of ionization instabilities. A uniform 'hat-shaped' temperature profile develops in the discharge volume after multiple pulses, due to chemical heat release from quenching of excited species. This finding may explain experimentally observed volumetric ignition (as opposed to hot-spot ignition) in fuel-air mixtures subject to NS DBD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155205
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr 17

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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