Investigation of conditions necessary for inception of positive corona in air based on differential formulation of photoionization

Victor P. Pasko, Reza Janalizadeh, Jaroslav Jansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sharp point electrodes generate significant electric field enhancements where electron impact ionization leads to the formation of electron avalanches that are seeded by photoionization. Photoionization of molecular oxygen due to extreme ultraviolet emissions from molecular nitrogen is a fundamental process in the inception of a positive corona in air. In a positive corona system, the avalanche of electrons in the bulk of the discharge volume is initiated by a specific distribution of photoionization far away from the region of maximum electron density near the electrode where these photons are emitted. Here, we present a new approach to finding the inception conditions for a positive corona, which is based on a differential formulation of the photoionization problem. The proposed iterative solution considers the same inception problem that has been solved in the existing literature by using either an integral approach to photoionization or a differential formulation of photoionization and considering the inception problem as a boundary-value eigenvalue problem. The results are validated by comparisons with previous integral formulations and time dynamic plasma fluid solutions in planar and spherical geometries. The results illustrate ideas advanced in Kaptzov (1950 Elektricheskiye Yavleniya v Gazakh i Vacuume p 610) providing a physically transparent connection between an effective secondary electron emission coefficient due to volume photoionization in a positive corona system and the secondary electron emission in conventional Townsend discharge theory. The results also demonstrate the significance of boundary conditions for accurate corona solutions that are based on a differential formulation of photoionization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number075014
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this