Photoionization in negative streamers: Fast computations and two propagation modes
Streamer discharges play a central role in electric breakdown of matter in pulsed electric fields, both in nature and in technology. Reliable and fast computations of the minimal model for negative streamers in simple gases like nitrogen have recently been developed. However, photoionization was not included; it is important in air and poses a major numerical challenge. We here introduce a fast and reliable method to include photoionization into our numerical scheme with adaptice grids, and we discuss its importance for negative streamers. In particular, we identify different propagation regimes where photoionization does or does not play a role.