(1) PDx1 PC version (planar, cylindrical, spherical devices)

(2) XPDP1 X Windows version (planar devices)

The PDx1 codes use the many-particle Particle-in-Cell technique to simulate one-dimensional bounded electrostatic plasma devices (where x stands for P, C, S: Planar, Cylindrical, and Spherical electrodes). The simulated system is a bounded plasma plus an external circuit whose characteristics, including particles and electrostatic fields, are specified by the user at run time using an input file. The external circuit may include R, L, and C elements, as well as AC, DC, and ramped current and voltage sources. A Monte Carlo collisional package has been included to model charged-neutral interactions, such as ionization, excitation, charge-exchange, and momentum transfer collisions. The simulation proceeds in real time, with the user viewing the output as the code runs in the form of various user-specified diagnostic windows which are updated each time step (animation). Applications range from collisional capacitive RF discharges, used in materials processing, to collisionless fusion problems.

PDP1 (Plasma Device Planar) is the modified version of W. S. Lawson's PDW1 code. PDP1 simulates a plasma within planar electrodes, including a uniform applied Dc magnetic field in an arbitrary direction, as in Figure a. The two electrodes in PDP1 are symmetric. PDC1 (Plasma Device Cylindrical) simulates a plasma within concentric (coaxial) cylindrical electrodes and allows an axial DC magnetic field. The inner electrode is of finite size, as shown in Figure b.

Figures A and B

PDC1 is useful for simulating discharges with different electrode areas. PDS1 (Plasma Device Spherical) simulates a plasma within concentric spherical electrodes, without a magnetic field. The inner electrode is of finite size. PDS1 is also useful for simulating discharges with different electrode areas.

The PC version provides outputs in the form of color graphics animation, dot-matrix, PostScript printer output, and CGM files, which can be edited by many PC and Macintosh drawing programs.

The X Windows version, XPDP1, has the same physics kernel as PDP1, but runs in XGrafix, an X Windows-based graphics package.

WWW Address:

Documentation Included with the Program:

  1. Reference Manual (includes installation notes, operation, physics overview, and input file library). Available separately for $5.00.
  2. W. S. Lawson, "Particle Simulation of Bounded One-Dimensional Plasma Systems," J. Computational Physics, Vol. 80, No. 2, February 1989. Available separately for $5.00.
  3. M. A. Alves, M. A. Lieberman, V. Vahedi, and C. K. Birdsall, "Sheath Voltage Ratio for Asymmetric RF Discharges," J. Appl. Phys., Vol. 69, p. 3823, 1991. Available separately for $5.00.
  4. J. P. Verboncoeur, M. V. Alves, and V. Vahedi, "Simultaneous Potential and Circuit Solution for Bounded Plasma Particle Simulation Codes" (UCB/ERL M90/67, 1990). J. Comp. Phys, Vol. 104, pp. 321-328, 1993. Available separately for $5.00.
  5. C. K. Birdsall, "Particle-in-Cell Charged-Particle Simulations, Plus Monte Carlo Collisions with Neutral Atoms, PIC-MCC," IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 65-85, April 1991. Available separately for $2.50.

Additional Documentation Available:

  1. C. K. Birdsall and A. B. Langdon, Plasma Physics via Computer Simulation, McGraw-Hill (1985) and Adam-Hilger (1991), which includes an ES1 disk. This book is not available through this office. However, it can be purchased from any bookstore when you present the ISBN number 0-07-005371-5.

Software Agreement: When you order this software, you will receive a Software License Agreement. This agreement must be signed and returned to: Professor C. K. Birdsall, EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1770. We will be glad to send you a copy for perusal prior to the actual purchase of the software. Contact the ILP Software Office (510) 643-6687 to request an advance copy, or anonymous FTP the agreement from

Support: We cannot guarantee assistance if the simulations are used in nonstandard ways. We have used the simulations at Berkeley for both education and research and found the codes to be relatively stable. A Plasma Device Simulation User's Group has been formed, with occasional newsletters and workshops. To join, contact the Plasma Theory and Simulation Group, c/o Professor C. K. Birdsall, EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1770, (510) 643-6631, or send email to

Foreign Distribution: Yes