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Radio Frequency High Pressure Plasmas

High-pressure, inductively coupled plasmas (ICP) have been used for variety of scientific and industrial applications. In such a plasma source, a helical coil is used to couple radio frequency (RF) power to the plasma using a capacitive impedance matching network. These plasmas are characterized by the presence of high concentration of reactive species and high enthalpy. Such plasmas find applications over large gas pressure range from a few Torr to atmospheric pressures. The applications of these plasmas require high-density (~ 1011-13 cm-3), uniform plasmas over large volumes (~1000-2000 cc). These high-pressure plasmas have applications in reducing drag on the supersonic vehicles, reducing radar cross sections by instantly forming a microwave absorbing or reflecting medium about an aircraft, their use as an agile mirror for scanning radar, as a source of atomic excitations (provides large number of reactive species), materials processing, exhaust gas processing, and biological decontamination.

One of the major issues associated with such high-pressure discharge is the high power budget required to initiate and sustain these discharges. Since ionization efficiency is sensitive to the electron distribution function, the reduction of higher energy electrons at higher gas pressure results in a lower production rate of electron-ion pairs. In addition two-body and three-body recombination become the significant loss mechanisms.


Create and Sustain high-density, large-volume high pressure plasmas of air constituents such as nitrogen, oxygen and air with moderate to low power budget.

We are investigating the following research topics to reduce the power requirement to create and sustain the plasma discharge.

Experimental Features:

Figure 1: Experimental configuration for laser initiation and radio frequency sustainment of high-pressure air plasma.


Research Progress Highlights:

Relevant Publications