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Collision and diffusion in microwave breakdown of nitrogen gas in and around microgaps
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The microwave induced breakdown of N2 gas in microgaps was modeled using the collision frequency between electrons and neutral molecules and the effective electric field concept. Low pressure breakdown at the threshold electric field occurs outside the gap, but at high pressures it is found to occur inside the microgap with a large threshold breakdown electric field corresponding to a very large electron oscillation amplitude. Three distinct pressure regimes are apparent in the microgap breakdown: a low pressure multipactor branch, a mid-pressure Paschen branch, both of which occur in the space outside the microgap, and a high pressure diffusion-drift branch, which occurs inside the microgap. The Paschen and diffusion-drift branches are divided by a sharp transition and each separately fits the collision frequency model. There is evidence that considerable electron loss to the microgap faces accompanies the diffusion-drift branch in microgaps.
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