Sensitivity Analysis for a Radio Frequency Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Discharge Simulation

A Dissertation Presented for the Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Engineering, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Kyle J. Lange, July 2009

Abstract:
A radio-frequency atmospheric plasma discharge is simulated in two dimensions using a finite volume discretization. The governing equations are based on a fluid model which consists of ten continuity equations for different particle species, the electron energy equation,Poisson’s equation for the potential and the surface charge density equation for surface charge at a dielectric. Flux boundary conditions are implemented at the electrodes and the dielectric wall that separates the electrodes. Secondary electron emission is accounted for using an empirical formula and data from the literature. Discrete sensitivity analysis is applied to the governing equations using forward mode direct differentiation and reverse mode adjoint to compute sensitivity derivatives. The algorithm to compute the sensitivity derivatives differs from more traditional algorithms due to the different numerical approaches used to accelerate convergence. Sensitivity derivatives are then used to increase the peak electron density in the discharge for a small case.

Kyle J. Lange Doctoral Dissertation