Plasma decay in the afterglow of a high-voltage nanosecond discharge in air
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The decay of air plasma produced by a high-voltage nanosecond discharge at room temperature and gas pressures in the range of 1–10 Torr was studied experimentally and theoretically. The time dependence of the electron density was measured with a microwave interferometer. The initial electron density was about 1012 cm−3. The discharge homogeneity was monitored using optical methods. The dynamics of the charged particle densities in the discharge afterglow was simulated by numerically solving the balance equations for electron and ions and the equation for the electron temperature. It was shown that, under these experimental conditions, plasma electrons are mainly lost due to dissociative and three-body recombination with ions. Agreement between the measured and calculated electron densities was achieved only when the rate constant of the three-body electron-ion recombination was increased by one order of magnitude and the temperature dependence of this rate constant was modified. This indicates that the mechanism for three-body recombination of molecular ions differs from that of the well-studied mechanism of atomic ion recombination.
KeywordsPlasma Physic Report High Voltage Electrode Plasma Decay Nanosecond Discharge Charged Particle Density
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