Time-resolved characterization of a filamentary argon discharge at atmospheric pressure in a capillary using emission and absorption spectroscopy

Sandra Schroeter, Ramasamy Pothiraja, Peter Awakowicz, Nikita Bibinov, Marc Boeke, Benedikt Niermann, Jörg Winter

JOURNAL OF PHYSICS D-APPLIED PHYSICS, Volume: 46, Issue: 46, Special Issue: SI, Article Number: 464009, DOI: 10.1088/0022-3727/46/46/464009, Published: NOV 20 2013


An argon/nitrogen (0.999/0.001) filamentary pulsed discharge operated at atmospheric pressure in a quartz tube is characterized using voltage-current measurements, microphotography, optical emission spectroscopy (OES) and absorption spectroscopy. Nitrogen is applied as a sensor gas for the purpose of OES diagnostic. The density of argon metastable atoms Ar(P-3(2)) is determined using tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS). Using a plasma chemical model the measured OES data are applied for the characterization of the plasma conditions. Between intense positive pulses the discharge current oscillates with a damped amplitude. It is established that an electric current flows in this discharge not only through a thin plasma filament that is observed in the discharge image but also through the whole cross section of the quartz tube. A diffuse plasma fills the quartz tube during a time between intense current pulses. Ionization waves are propagating in this plasma between the spike and the grounded area of the tube producing thin plasma channels. The diameter of these channels increases during the pause between the propagation of ionization waves probably because of thermal expansion and diffusion. Inside the channels electron densities of similar to 2 x 10(13) cm(-3), argon metastable densities similar to 10(14) cm(-3) and a reduced electric field about 10 Td are determined.

Tags: plasma