A Fully Coupled Nonlinear Scheme for Time-Domain Modeling of High-Power Microwave Air Breakdown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, the air breakdown problem encountered with high-power microwave operation is modeled using a fully coupled nonlinear Newton scheme in the time domain. As a highly nonlinear process, the air breakdown is resulted from the complicated electromagnetic-plasma interactions, which can be described by a coupled system where Maxwell's equations govern the electromagnetic fields, and a simplified plasma fluid equation governs the plasma current. The resulting nonlinear Maxwell's equations are solved by the time-domain finite-element method with a proposed Newton's method, while the simplified plasma fluid equation is solved with another point-wise Newton's method. These two sets of equations are coupled together using a proposed inner-outer iterative scheme to guarantee the convergence and accuracy of the numerical solution. Numerical examples are presented to characterize the nonlinear phenomenon of the breakdown process and the self-sustaining property of the plasma current.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7533515
Pages (from-to)2718-2729
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Air breakdown
  • Newton's method
  • fluid model
  • fully coupled scheme
  • high-power microwave (HPM)
  • nonlinear modeling
  • plasma physics
  • self-sustaining
  • time-domain finite-element method (TDFEM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A Fully Coupled Nonlinear Scheme for Time-Domain Modeling of High-Power Microwave Air Breakdown'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this