Interactions at the interface between atmospheric pressure plasmas and liquids are being investigated to address applications ranging from nanoparticle synthesis to decontamination and fertilizer production. Many of these applications involve activation of droplets wherein the droplet is fully immersed in the plasma and synergistically interacts with the plasma. To better understand these interactions, two-dimensional modeling of radio frequency (RF) glow discharges at atmospheric pressure operated in He with an embedded lossy dielectric droplet (tens of microns in size) was performed. The properties of the sheath that forms around the droplet were investigated over the RF cycle. The electric field in the bulk plasma polarizes the dielectric droplet while the electron drift in the external electric field is shadowed by the droplet. The interaction between the bulk and sheath electric fields produces a maximum in E/N (electric field/gas number density) at the equator on one side of the droplet where the bulk and sheath fields are aligned in the same direction and a minimum along the opposite equator. Due to resistive heating, the electron temperature Te is maximum 45° above and below the equator of the droplet where power deposition per electron is the highest. Although the droplet is, on the average, negatively charged, the charge density on the droplet is positive on the poles and negative on the equator, as the electron motion is primarily due to diffusion at the poles but due to drift at the equator.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Nos. PHY-1902878, IIP-1747739, and PHY 1903151). This material was also based upon the work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences under Award No. DE-SC0020232 and the Army Research Office accomplished under Grants Nos. W911NF-20-1-0105 and W911NF-18-1-0240.
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