An expanding thermal arc plasma in argon–hydrogen is investigated by means of emission spectroscopy. The hydrogen can be added to the argon flow before it enters the thermal arc plasma source, or it can be flushed directly into the vacuum expansion vessel (1–20 vol¿% H2). The atomic state distribution function for hydrogen, measured at a downstream distance of 20 mm, turns out to be very different in the two cases. For injection in the arc, three-particle recombination is a primary source of hydrogen excitation, whereas measurements with hydrogen injected into the vessel clearly point to a molecular channel (dissociative recombination of formed ArH+) populating atomic hydrogen levels.
|Journal||Physics of Plasmas|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|