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Welcome to the ARCoS site

Welcome to the site of the Adaptive Refinement Code for Streamers (ARCoS). ARCoS is a numerical code for the simulation of streamer discharges developed at the Dutch Center of Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI). It has resulted from research both in the physics of streamers and in numerical algorithms developed in the last years at the Multiscale Modelling and Nonlinear Dynamics group.

ARCoS is a state-of-the-art numerical tool featuring:

  • Adaptivively refined grids.
  • Fast photo-ionization calculation through partial differential equations.
  • Plane-plane and point-plane electrode geometries.
  • 3D calculations through Fast Fourier Transforms.
  • Parallel computations in multi-core machines.
  • Automatic code generator for plasmo-chemical models.

Download and browse

You can download the ARCoS library here:

* Download ARCoS

* Documentation ARCoS

If you want to use the FISHPACK library, please fill the FISHPACK order form. If you just want to take a look at parts of the source code, you can Browse the source code.

We distribute ARCoS under a fair use policy: if you use it for your research, we expect that you cite our work.


This is a list of people that has been involved on the development of ARCoS in the past years

Ute Ebert : As head of the Multiscale Dynamics group MD (formerly MAS3 “Modeling, Analysis and Simulation”), Ute started the development of ARCoS and supervised its development.

Willem Hundsdorfer : As a Numerical Analysis expert, he has overviewed and contributed to the development of ARCoS since the beginning.

Margreet Nool : Senior scientific programmer improved the performance and increased the modularity of the code and simplified the input. Moreover, she added the Doxygen documentation.

Alejandro Luque : During a 3-year post-doc at CWI, he reimplemented the original codebase of ARCoS porting it from FORTRAN to C. He also implemented photo-ionization and parallelized and extended the code to 3D by means of Fast Fourier Transforms.

Carolynne Montijn : In her PhD Thesis “Evolution of Negative Streamers in Nitrogen: a Numerical Investigation on Adaptive Grids” (2005), she implemented the main discretization and refinement algorithms for a fluid model of pure Nitrogen.

Jeroen Wackers : Developed a scheme to solve the Poisson equation in adaptively refined Cartesian grids.

Gideon Wormeester : In his PhD thesis “Propagation mechanisms of positive streamers in different gases”, (Doctoral degree 27-08-2013); TU Eindhoven, Department of Applied Physics; Supervisor: U.M. Ebert, To appear…


These papers describe the algorithms used in ARCoS or include results obtained with it.

* The refinement algorithm for the Poisson equation:

  • A nested-grid finite-difference Poisson solver for concentrated source terms, J. Wackers J. Comp. Appl. Math. 180, 1 (2005)paper

* A comprehensive description of the discretization and refinement algorithms that are implemented in ARCoS:

  • An adaptive grid refinement strategy for the simulation of negative streamers, C. Montijn, W. Hundsdorfer, U. Ebert, J. Comp. Phys. 219, 801-835 (2006), paper.
  • Evolution of negative streamers in nitrogen : a numerical investigation on adaptive grids, Doctoral degree 20-12-2005; TU Eindhoven, Department of Applied Physics; Supervisor: U.M. Ebert, PhD Thesis C. Montijn.

* We introduce a numerical method to speed up the calculation of the photoionisation term in streamer simulations and
apply it to the simulation of negative streamers:

  • Photoionisation in negative streamers: fast computations and two propagation modes, A. Luque, U. Ebert, C. Montijn, W. Hundsdorfer, Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 081501 (2007), paper.

* Part of this paper consisted in the use of ARCoS to test a boundary condition for streamers in 2D:

  • Construction and test of a moving boundary model for negative streamer discharges, F. Brau, A. Luque, B. Meulenbroek, U. Ebert, L. Schaefer, Phys. Rev. E 77, 026219 (2008) [10 pages, 7 figures],paper.

* ARCoS was used to show the relationship between streamer discharges and Saffman-Taylor fingers:

  • Saffman-Taylor streamer discharges: a study on interacting streamers, A. Luque, F. Brau, U. Ebert, Phys. Rev. E 78, 016206 (2008) [6 pages, 6 figures], print.

* We describe the numerical method to simulate streamers in 3D in multi-core machines. This method is then applied to the study of interacting streamers:

  • Interaction of streamers in air and other oxygen-nitrogen mixtures, A. Luque, U. Ebert, and W. Hundsdorfer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 075005 (2008), [4 pages, 4 figures], print.
    covered in A bolt from the blue, Research Highlight in Nature, pdf, 4 sept. 2008.
codes/arcos.txt · Last modified: 2019/09/17 17:53 by jannis