Temperature evolution in a pulsed CO2-N2glow discharge measured using quantum cascade laser absorption spectroscopy

M. A. Damen, L. M. Martini, R. Engeln (Corresponding author)

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19 Citations (Scopus)


This work uses in situ narrowband quantum cascade laser (QCL) absorption spectroscopy to study the effect of N2 on the time evolution of gas temperature, rotational temperature and the vibrational temperatures of CO2 and CO in a pulsed glow discharge. Three colinear QCLs are used to scan three regions of about 1 cm-1 between 2179.20 and 2253.51 cm-1, including (v 1,v2-l 2,v 3)\to (v 1,v 2-l2,v3+1) C O 2 transitions up to the asymmetric stretch level v 3 = 6, as well as (v CO) → (v CO + 1) CO transitions up to v CO = 1. A fitting routine is used to extract temperatures from the measured absorption spectra. The time resolved measurements are performed in CO2, admixed with up to 90% N2, with the plasma operated with a 5-10 ms on-off cycle, a discharge current of 50 mA and a pressure of around 6.7 mbar. The time evolution of the gas temperature has been measured and agrees well with the time evolution of the rotational temperature. The asymmetric stretch vibrational temperature T 3 of CO2 reaches a maximum of 1060 K at 0.7 ms for pure CO2, while T 3 goes up to 2250 K for a N2 content of 90% and stays constant until the plasma is switched off. Both T 3 and the vibrational temperature of CO T CO show a clear non-equilibrium with respect to the rotational temperature T rot. Both do not equilibrate with the rotational temperature T rot between consecutive plasma cycles for a N2 content above 70%, although T 3 and T CO always equilibrate with each other in the afterglow. The symmetric stretch and bending mode temperature T 12 is elevated more with respect to the rotational temperature for increasing N2 content, while the maximum of the rotational temperature decreases for increasing N2 admixtures, which might be attributed to the energy stored in the vibrational modes of N2, CO2 and CO. Additionally, an indication of an increase in the total pressure during the plasma on-time due to heating and a subsequent decrease in the afterglow due to cooling was found for a pure CO2 plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065016
Number of pages15
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Carbon dioxide plasma
  • gas temperature
  • glow discharge
  • quantum cascade laser
  • vibrational temperature


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