A time-resolved imaging and electrical study on a high current atmospheric pressure spark discharge

J.M. Palomares Linares, A. Kohut, G. Galbacs, R.A.H. Engeln, Z. Geretovszky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
176 Downloads (Pure)


We present a time-resolved imaging and electrical study of an atmospheric pressure spark discharge. The conditions of the present study are those used for nanoparticle generation in spark discharge generator setups. The oscillatory bipolar spark discharge was generated between two identical Cu electrodes in different configurations (cylindrical flat-end or tipped-end geometries, electrode gap from 0.5 to 4 mm), in a controlled co-axial N2 flow, and was supplied by a high voltage capacitor. Imaging data with nanosecond time resolution were collected using an intensified CCD camera. This data were used to study the time evolution of plasma morphology, total light emission intensity, and the rate of plasma expansion. High voltage and high current probes were employed to collect electrical data about the discharge. The electrical data recorded allowed, among others, the calculation of the equivalent resistance and inductance of the circuit, estimations for the energy dissipated in the spark gap. By combining imaging and electrical data, observations could be made about the correlation of the evolution of total emitted light and the dissipated power. It was also observed that the distribution of light emission of the plasma in the spark gap is uneven, as it exhibits a “hot spot” with an oscillating position in the axial direction, in correlation with the high voltage waveform. The initial expansion rate of the cylindrical plasma front was found to be supersonic; thus, the discharge releases a strong shockwave. Finally, the results on equivalent resistance and channel expansion are comparable to those of unipolar arcs. This shows the spark discharge has a similar behavior to the arc regime during the conductive phase and until the current oscillations stop.
Original languageEnglish
Article number233305
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'A time-resolved imaging and electrical study on a high current atmospheric pressure spark discharge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this