Electric field measurements in moving ionization fronts during plasma breakdown

E. Wagenaars, M.D. Bowden, G.M.W. Kroesen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic

Abstract

We have performed time-resolved, direct measurements of electric field strengths in moving ionization fronts during the breakdown phase of a pulsed plasma. Plasma breakdown, or plasma ignition, is a highly transient process marking the transition from a gas to a plasma. Some aspects of plasma breakdown are reasonably well understood, but many details remain unknown, mainly because of a lack of direct measurements of plasma properties. Most of the important processes in breakdown, such as electron multiplication in avalanches and propagation of ionization fronts, are controlled by the electric field distribution in the discharge region. We have developed an experimental laser technique capable of measuring spatially and temporally resolved electric field distributions in both plasma and neutral gas. The technique is based on detecting the Stark shift and mixing of high-lying Rydberg levels of xenon atoms, using a 2+1 photon excitation scheme with fluorescence-dip detection. With this experimental arrangement, we measured absolute, time-resolved electric field strengths during the breakdown phase of a low-pressure plasma between parabolic electrodes. Characteristic features of breakdown, such as a moving ionization front with electric field enhancement and the formation of a plasma sheath, were observed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 59th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference 2006 (GEC 2006), 10-13 October, 2006, Columbus, USA
PagesMW2.00005-
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Event59th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC 2006), October 10–13, 2006; Columbus, Ohio - Columbus, United States
Duration: 10 Oct 200613 Oct 2006

Other

Other59th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC 2006), October 10–13, 2006; Columbus, Ohio
CountryUnited States
CityColumbus
Period10/10/0613/10/06
Other59th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference 2006 (GEC 2006)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Electric field measurements in moving ionization fronts during plasma breakdown'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this