Optogalvanic Effects in the Cathode Fall

  • J. E. Lawler
  • D. K. Doughty
  • E. A. Den Hartog
  • S. Salih
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIB, volume 149)


Optogalvanic effects are changes in the conductance of a gas discharge caused by illumination with radiation at a wavelength corresponding to an atomic or molecular transition. These phenomena were first discovered by Penning over fifty years ago, and were rediscovered a number of times in the intervening decades (Penning, 1928). Early work on optogalvanic effects was performed using incoherent light sources (Penning, 1928: Kenty, 1950: Meissner and Miller, 1953). The development of tunable dye lasers opened many new possibilities. Optogalvanic effects became widely used as a detection method in laser spectroscopy (Camus, 1983). Many unstable or difficult to produce species such as: free radicals, atoms of refractory elements, metastables, and atoms or ions in short lived levels are readily available in a discharge. Even high resolution Doppler-free spectroscopy is performed using optogalvanic detection (Lawler et al., 1979: Goldsmith et al.,1979).


Rydberg Atom Electron Energy Distribution Function Quantum Defect Cathode Fall Stark Component 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Lawler
    • 1
  • D. K. Doughty
    • 1
  • E. A. Den Hartog
    • 1
  • S. Salih
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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