A Nonhomogeneous Immersed-Finite-Element Particle-in-Cell Method for Modeling Dielectric Surface Charging in Plasmas


We present a particle-in-cell (PIC) method using a nonhomogeneous immersed-finite-element (IFE) field solver for modeling dielectric surface charging of complex-shaped objects in plasmas. The IFE solver allows PIC codes using a Cartesian mesh applied to simulations involving arbitrarily shaped objects with a similar accuracy as that using a body-fitting mesh. The object surface is treated as an interface. Surface charging is calculated directly from charge deposition at the interface, and the electrostatic fields on both sides of the interface are resolved self-consistently. The capability of the nonhomogeneous IFE-PIC method is demonstrated by a simulation study of the charging of an irregular-shaped asteroid in the solar wind.


Mathematics and Statistics

Second Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Dielectric Materials; inhomogeneous Media; mesh Generation; plasma Simulation; surface Discharges; Cartesian Mesh; body-Fitting Mesh; complex-Shaped Objects; dielectric Surface Charging Modeling; electrostatic Fields; irregular-Shaped Asteroid Charging; nonhomogeneous IFE-PIC Method; nonhomogeneous Immersed-Finite-Element Particle-In-Cell Method; plasma Simulations; solar Wind; Dielectrics; Electric Potential; Mathematical Model; Plasmas; Poisson Equations; Surface Charging; Surface Treatment; Dielectric Materials; finite-Element Methods; surface Charging

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2016 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2016