Formation and destruction of molecular ions in a Townsend discharge in neon

J.W.H. Dielis, F.J. Hoog, de, D.C. Schram

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Production of molecular ions by termolecular association and by associative ionization as well as the destruction of these ions by collisional dissociation has been investigated experimentally in a low-current-density discharge in neon. Space-charge effects and all cumulative processes can be neglected so that a simple model of the discharge can be used. Measurements have been carried out by mass discriminated ion sampling through the cathode. The results show values of the product kr t of the associative ionization rate and the unproductive lifetime ranging from (0.6 up to 1.9)×10-23 m 3 at values of the reduced electric field strength E/N from 45 up to 245 Townsend. In the same range of E/N, values for the termolecular association rate kc appear to be in good agreement with previous studies and show a T-.05 temperature dependence. Finally in the same E/N range dissociation rates kd of Ne2+ ions increase from 3×10-19 to 3.5×10-17 m3s -1. These values are in excellent agreement with values calculated with a detailed balance argument from values for the termolecular association rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5708-5717
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1980


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