Influence of a Nitrogen Admixture on the Anomalous Memory Effect in the Breakdown of Low-Pressure Argon in a Long Discharge Tube
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The memory effect (the dependence of the dynamic breakdown voltage U b on the time interval τ between voltage pulses) in pulse-periodic discharges in pure argon and the Ar + 1%N2 mixture was studied experimentally. The discharge was ignited in a 2.8-cm-diameter tube with an interelectrode distance of 75 cm. The measurements were performed at gas pressures of P = 1, 2, and 5 Torr and discharge currents in a steady stage of the discharge of I = 20 and 56 mA. Breakdown was produced by applying positive-polarity voltage pulses, the time interval between pulses being in the range of τ = 0.5–40 ms. In this range of τ values, a local maximum (the anomalous memory effect) was observed in the dependence U b (τ). It is shown that addition of nitrogen to argon substantially narrows the range of τ values at which this effect takes place. To analyze the measurement results, the plasma parameters in a steady-state discharge (in both pure argon and the Ar + 1%N2 mixture) and its afterglow were calculated for the given experimental conditions. Analysis of the experimental data shows that the influence of the nitrogen admixture on the shape of the dependence U b (τ) is, to a large extent, caused by the change in the decay rate of the argon afterglow plasma in the presence of a nitrogen admixture.
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