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Development of 1D Particle-in-Cell Code and Simulation of Plasma-Wall Interactions Open Access

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This thesis discusses the development of a 1D particle-in-cell (PIC) code and the analysis of plasma-wall interactions. The 1D code (Plasma and Wall Simulation - PAWS) is a kinetic simulation of plasma done by treating both electrons and ions as particles. The goal of this thesis is to study near wall plasma interaction to better understand the mechanism that occurs in this region. The main focus of this investigation is the effects that secondary electrons have on the sheath profile. The 1D code is modeled using the PIC method. Treating both the electrons and ions as macroparticles the field is solved on each node and weighted to each macro particle. A pre-ionized plasma was loaded into the domain and the velocities of particles were sampled from the Maxwellian distribution. An important part of this code is the boundary conditions at the wall. If a particle hits the wall a secondary electron may be produced based on the incident energy. To study the sheath profile the simulations were run for various cases. Varying background neutral gas densities were run with the 2D code and compared to experimental values. Different wall materials were simulated to show their effects of SEE. In addition different SEE yields were run, including one study with very high SEE yields to show the presence of a space charge limited sheath. Wall roughness was also studied with the 1D code using random angles of incidence. In addition to the 1D code, an external 2D code was also used to investigate wall roughness without secondary electrons. The roughness profiles where created upon investigation of wall roughness inside Hall Thrusters based off of studies done on lifetime erosion of the inner and outer walls of these devices. The 2D code, Starfish[33], is a general 2D axisymmetric/Cartesian code for modeling a wide a range of plasma and rarefied gas problems. These results show that higher SEE yield produces a smaller sheath profile and that wall roughness produces a lower SEE yield. Modeling near wall interactions is not a simple or perfected task. Due to the lack of a second dimension and a sputtering model it is not possible with this study to show the positive effects wall roughness could have on Hall thruster performance since roughness occurs from the negative affect of sputtering.

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