Optogalvanic Effects in the Cathode Fall
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).
KeywordsRydberg Atom Electron Energy Distribution Function Quantum Defect Cathode Fall Stark Component
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