The understanding of kinetic processes in low temperature plasmas of atmospheric gases is of great interest in various branches of modern physics and chemistry, such as discharge physics, plasma chemistry, chemistry and optics of the atmosphere, nonequilibrium gas dynamics, laser physics and laser chemistry, and physics of the ionosphere. In particular, nonequilibrium low temperature plasmas in pure N2 and O2 or in N2—O2 mixtures, in which atomic and molecular active components are produced in large amounts, are now widely used in a variety of new technologies such as microelectronics, film deposition, surface processing, material treatment, depollution devices, and space technologies. For many years, the investigation of kinetic processes in nonequilibrium plasmas did not receive much attention from the plasma physics community, traditionally more interested in fully ionized plasmas where molecules are absent and the electrons are Maxwellian. Present plasma-based technologies fostered however increasing interest in the field of nonequilibrium plasma kinetics, and significant progress in this area has been achieved in recent years as a result of detailed investigations of state-tostate molecular kinetics coupled to the electron Boltzmann equation in order to obtain the nonequilibrium distributions of atomic and molecular internal states and electron energy in such systems.
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