Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 38(2):R1, 2005. Paper Website abstract bibtex
There has been considerable interest in non-thermal atmospheric pressure discharges over the past decade due to the increased number of industrial applications. Diverse applications demand a solid physical and chemical understanding of the operational principals of such discharges. This paper focuses on the four most important and widely used varieties of non-thermal discharges: corona, dielectric barrier, gliding arc and spark discharge. The physics of these discharges is closely related to the breakdown phenomena. The main players in electrical breakdown of gases: avalanches and streamers are also discussed in this paper. Although non-thermal atmospheric pressure discharges have been intensively studied for the past century, a clear physical picture of these discharges is yet to be obtained.