In this paper, a detailed investigation of the spatio-temporal dynamics of a pulsed microwave plasma is presented. The plasma is ignited inside a dielectric tube in a repetitively pulsed regime at pressures ranging from 1 up to 100 mbar with pulse repetition frequencies from 200 Hz up to 500 kHz. Various diagnostic techniques are employed to obtain the main plasma parameters both spatially and with high temporal resolution. Thomson scattering is used to obtain the electron density and mean electron energy at fixed positions in the dielectric tube. The temporal evolution of the two resonant and two metastable argon 4s states are measured by laser diode absorption spectroscopy. Nanosecond time-resolved imaging of the discharge allows us to follow the spatio-temporal evolution of the discharge with high temporal and spatial resolution. Finally, the temporal evolution of argon 4p and higher states is measured by optical emission spectroscopy. The combination of these various diagnostics techniques gives deeper insight on the plasma dynamics during pulsed microwave plasma operation from low to high pressure regimes. The effects of the pulse repetition frequency on the plasma ignition dynamics are discussed and the plasma-off time is found to be the relevant parameter for the observed ignition modes. Depending on the delay between two plasma pulses, the dynamics of the ionization front are found to be changing dramatically. This is also reflected in the dynamics of the electron density and temperature and argon line emission from the plasma. On the other hand, the (quasi) steady state properties of the plasma are found to depend only weakly on the pulse repetition frequency and the afterglow kinetics present an uniform spatio-temporal behavior. However, compared to continuous operation, the time-averaged metastable and resonant state 4s densities are found to be significantly larger around a few kHz pulsing frequency.
Carbone, E. A. D., Sadeghi, N., Vos, E. G. P., Hübner, S., Veldhuizen, van, E. M., Dijk, van, J., ... Kroesen, G. M. W. (2015). Spatio-temporal dynamics of a pulsed microwave argon plasma : ignition and afterglow. Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 24(1), 015015-1/17. . https://doi.org/10.1088/0963-0252/24/1/015015