Investigation of a plasma-target interaction through electric field characterization examining surface and volume charge contributions: modeling and experiment

Pedro Viegas, Elmar Slikboer, Adam Obrusnik, Zdenek Bonaventura, Ana Sobota, Enric Garcia-Caurel, Olivier Guaitella, Anne Bourdon

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Numerical simulations and experiments are performed to better understand the interaction between a pulsed helium plasma jet and a dielectric target. The focus of this work lies on the volume and surface charge influence on the electric field distribution. Experimentally, the electric field due to surface charges is measured inside an electro-optic target under exposure of a plasma jet, using the optical technique called Mueller polarimetry. For the first time, the time-resolved spatial distributions of both the axial and radial components of electric field inside the target are obtained simultaneously. A 2D fluid model is used in a complementary way to the experiments in order to study separately the contribution of volume charges and surface charges to the spatio-temporal evolutions of the electric field during the plasma–surface interaction. The experimental investigation shows that the average axial and radial components of electric field inside the dielectric target, only due to surface charges, are lower than generally reported for electric field values in the plasma plume. Thanks to the phenomenological comparison with experiments, simulations show that during the plasma–surface interaction two effects sequentially determine the electric field inside the target: firstly, a relatively high electric field is observed due to the proximity of the ionization front; afterwards, in longer timescales, lower electric fields are induced due to the contribution of both leftover volume charges close to the target and surface charges deposited on its surface. The experimental technique provides a unique way to examine this second phase of the plasma–surface interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number094002
Number of pages16
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2018


  • plasma target interaction
  • plasma dielectric interaction
  • plasma jet
  • electric field
  • surface charges
  • Mueller polarimetry
  • electro-optic crystals

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