Modeling of discharges generated by electron beams in dense gases: Fountain and thunderstorm regimes Academic Article uri icon


  • In this paper we present an analysis of the predicted dynamics of plasmas generated in air and other gases by injecting beams of high-energy electrons. Two distinct regimes are found, differing in the way that the excess negative charge brought in by the ionizing electron beam is removed. In the first regime, called a fountain, the charge is removed by the back current of plasma electrons toward the injection foil. In the second, called a thunderstorm, a substantial cloud of negative charge accumulates, and the increased electric field near the cloud causes a streamer to strike between the cloud and a positive or grounded electrode, or between two clouds created by two different beams. A quantitative analysis, including electron beam propagation, electrodynamics, charge particle kinetics, and a simplified heat balance, is performed in a one-dimensional approximation. 2001 American Institute of Physics.

published proceedings

  • Physics of Plasmas

author list (cited authors)

  • Macheret, S. O., Shneider, M. N., & Miles, R. B.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001 11:11 AM