Ionization Balance in Low-Temperature Plasmas with Nanosized Dust
Keywords:dusty plasmas, surface ionization, thermionic emission
Ionization mechanisms in the low-temperature thermal plasma, which contains alkali metal atoms as ionizable component and nanosized dust grains, are studied. In such a plasma, electrons are captured by dust grains, because the work function of grains depends on their sizes, and the electron adsorption rate is more than the thermionic emission rate for nanosized grains. Accordingly, an increase of the dust grain number leads to a decrease in the volume ionization and recombination rates, because they depend on the number density of electrons. At the same time, the role of surface processes in the plasma ionization balance is increased, because the total grain surface is increased. The approximate calculation techniques for low and high grain number densities are proposed. The criterions for approximate calculations are specified.
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