VSim for Plasma Discharges

VSimPDAn ever-expanding suite of features ensures that your simulations will remain at the cutting edge.


VSim sputtering magnetron model

VSim for Plasma Discharges (VSimPD) is a flexible, multiplatform, high-performance, parallel software tool for numerically efficient kinetic simulations of arbitrary pressure gas discharges. VSimPD computes full kinetics for arbitrary pressure gas discharges including the effects of elastic, excitation, and ionization collisions between electrons, ions, and neutral particles using Particle-In-Cell Monte Carlo (PIC-MCC) and PIC-DSMC methods and also including charge exchange, electron recombination, sputtering, and secondary emission. In the process it can also compute surface charging. Dielectric and metallic shapes can be rapidly imported from CAD files or constructed in the user-friendly front end, VSimComposer and are rapidly meshed with the proprietary VMesh algorithm. With VSim for Plasma Discharges, you will have the ability to solve full size problems rapidly in R-Z geometry or fully three dimensional.

Simultaneously Simulate Kinetic and Collisional Effects in Plasma

VSimPD explicitly tracks kinetic particle species in arbitrary-pressure background gases. Perform fast, efficient field solves in up to three dimensions with self-consistent particle evolution. Include secondary electron emission, sputtering, and particle-particle/particle-fluid interactions to faithfully model particle dynamics. Add feedback to simulate external circuitry.

VSim for Plasma Discharges can be used in the design cycle for plasma discharge and gaseous electronics devices. VSimPD simulates Capacitively Coupled Plasma Discharge Chambers. VSim can model plasma thrusters, including ion thrusters and Hall thrusters. It simulates satellite surface charging and dielectric barrier discharges. With its electrostatic computing capabilities, VSimPD can be used to simulate sputtering magnetrons.

Use VSimPD to simulate sheath formation in a plasma processing device, ion extraction from an ion source, evolutions of non-Maxwellian particle distributions, surface charging of equipment in a plasma environment, and much more.

VSimPD Includes Example Simulations that You Can Use to Obtain Immediate Results

The rich set of examples accompanying VSim for Plasma Discharges reduces your learning curve and enables you to obtain immediate results in plasma discharge simulation. For instance, the 1D and 2D Capacitively Coupled Plasma Discharge Chamber examples are useful starting points for modeling a CCP, as is the Turner Case 2 example.  Our Ion Thruster and Cylindrical Hall Thruster examples can jumpstart your ion thruster simulation.  The Ion Beam Sputtering example is useful if you are modelling Etching, Coating/Deposition, or DC & RF Sputtering. The Satellite Surface Charging example is also helpful for working with Coating/Deposition applications.  If you are investigating Beam Optics/Transport, you may be interested in beginning with our Proton Beam or Negative Ion Beam example.

A substantial amount of the value of the software was the support we received and the help setting up the ion source models. This has made VSim really useful for our research.

—Bruce Marsh, CERN

Tech-X scientists are active contributors to the field of plasma physics. Our development of advanced simulation techniques and methods is continuously incorporated into our software. Benefit from leading edge developments used in National Laboratories, university research departments, and industry. Take advantage of VSimPD's constantly updated range of capabilities for modelling kinetic particles and background fluids for your simulations.


VSim for Plasma Discharges performs accurate simulations of a full scale device by exploiting parallel computing power on any platform: Linux, Windows, or macOS.


Particle Features

  • Charged and neutral particles
  • Variable and constant weight particles
  • Relativistic particles
  • Tagged particles for particle tracking
  • Prescribed emission
  • Surface charge
  • Variable Weight particles
  • Split/combine macroparticles for weight management
  • Electron and ion induced secondary electron emission
  • Sputtering
  • Particle Boundary Conditions:
    • Absorbing
    • Reflecting
    • Periodic
    • Accumulating for surface charge
    • Partially transparent

Field and Fluid Features

  • Conducting and dielectric boundaries
  • Charge/current deposition: interpolators, area weighting, and 1st order
  • Euler fluid
  • Static background gas

Reaction Features

  • Particle-particle collisions
  • Particle-fluid collisions
  • Monte Carlo collision types:
    • Binary (In)Elastic
    • Two Reactants-to-Two Products Reaction
    • Three-body Recombination
    • Charge Exchange
    • Decay
    • Electron Ionization
    • Electron Scatter
    • Impact Ionization


  • Capture kinetic physics not available in other models
    • Valid from low to high pressures, large range of densities
    • Captures non-local effects
  • Physics you need for your problems:
    • collisions
    • multiple species
    • wall interaction
    • emitters
  • Works on Linux, Windows, and macOS platforms running on laptops, desktops, clusters, and supercomputers

 Questions? Contact us.









Example Simulations Included

These example problems that demonstrate collisions and plasma reactions are included with VSim for Plasma Discharges to jumpstart finding the solution to your problem:

Examples Using Visual Setup

Visual Setup Examples are ready to run and easy to use.  Running a Visual Setup Example and then customizing the settings for your own simulation is the fastest way to learn VSim.

Capacitively Coupled
DC Plasmas

Examples Using Text Setup

Code your simulation, then run it.  Text Setup Examples demonstrate how to format a simulation input file using code syntax. If you like the level of control available through designing your simulation using VSim code blocks and Python, use a Text Setup file as the basis for your simulation project.

Capacitively Coupled











VSim capacitively coupled plasma simulation model
Capacitively Coupled Plasma

Highest fidelity plasma models for capacitively coupled discharges, including all kinetic effects.

VSim kinetic collisions simulation

Kinetic Collisions

Electrostatic transport of a H-beam in a background gas of H2.

VSim cylindrical hall thruster magnetic field simulation
Cylindrical Hall Thruster

Simulation of a Stationary Plasma Thruster-100 (SPT-100) kinetically tracks electrons, xenon ions and sputtered hBN wall materials.

VSim model of satellite surface charging

Satellite Charging

Surface charging and plasma discharge modeling for simulations of spacecraft and their environments.


VSim ion thruster model
Advanced Dipole Above Conducting Plane

Simulation of a 40 cm diameter, 3-ring magnet cylindrical ion thruster discharge chamber plasma process kinetically tracking electrons (both primary and secondaries), xenon ions (singly charged and doubly charged), and xenon neutrals.


Ready to evaluate VSim|USim|PSim for free?




Go To Top