Characterisation of a 3 nanosecond pulsed atmospheric pressure argon microplasma
Department of Electrical Engineering and electronics, University of Liverpool, L69 3, GI, UK
2 Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University, Leics., LE11 3TU, UK
Revised: 5 August 2010
Published online: 14 September 2010
This study details the generation and characterisation of a 3 nanosecond pulsed atmospheric pressure argon microdischarge, and provides a comparison with a comparable DC microplasma. There is a growing interest in short pulsed excitation of microplasmas as a gateway to access highly non-equilibrium discharge chemistry that is inaccessible using other excitation mechanisms. By combining time-resolved electrical and optical diagnostics the repetitive 3 nanosecond pulses considered in this study are shown to produce a highly transient plasma with a peak dissipated power above 160 kW and electron densities in excess of 1017 cm-3. During the afterglow period electrons rapidly cool below the excitation threshold suggesting emission from excited argon neutrals should also diminish rapidly. However, argon emissions are observed for several microseconds after each applied pulse, far in excess of their radiative lifetimes. Potential repopulation mechanisms are considered and it is concluded that electron-ion recombination is the most likely repopulation process.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2010