Complex dynamics of a dc glow discharge tube: Experimental modeling and stability diagrams

Pugliese E, Meucci R, Euzzor S, Freire JG, Gallas JAC
Scientific Reports volume 5, Article number: 8447 (2015),

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We report a detailed experimental study of the complex behavior of a dc low-pressure plasma discharge tube of the type commonly used in commercial illuminated signs, in a microfluidic chip recently proposed for visible analog computing, and other practical devices. Our experiments reveal a clear quasiperiodicity route to chaos, the two competing frequencies being the relaxation frequency and the plasma eigenfrequency. Based on an experimental volt-ampere characterization of the discharge, we propose a macroscopic model of the current flowing in the plasma. The model, governed by four autonomous ordinary differential equations, is used to compute stability diagrams for periodic oscillations of arbitrary period in the control parameter space of the discharge. Such diagrams show self-pulsations to emerge remarkably organized into intricate mosaics of stability phases with extended regions of multistability (overlap). Specific mosaics are predicted for the four dynamical variables of the discharge. Their experimental observation is an open challenge.