Spark Excitation in Inert Atmospheres

  • Arno Arrak
Part of the Developments in Applied Spectroscopy book series (DAIS, volume 4)


Within the last few years, spark excitation in atmospheres other than air has proven its value in spectrochemical analysis. The beneficial influence of an inert atmosphere is undoubtedly due in part to the elimination of surface oxidation reactions which often strongly influence spectral intensities. Beyond this obvious chemical factor, there are other, more subtle influences due to the presence of the gas which can strongly influence the nature of the spectrum in different atmospheres. Thus, the spectrum of a given sample sparked in helium and in argon will behave quite differently in regard to total and relative line intensities, line form and width, relative strength of ion lines, line to background ratio, tendency of certain lines for self-reversal, reproducibility of intensity ratios in replicate exposures, etc. These observable effects depend upon the ionization and excitation potential of the gas, as well as upon the atomic weight and the collision cross section of the gas atoms with sample vapor. Since the sample vapor enters the spark gap in the form of supersonic vapor jets from the cathode, it is quite evident that the slowing down of these jets by collisions with gas atoms plays a major role in the excitation of spark spectra in different inert atmospheres. An elementary theory of this process will be developed and some of its predictions will be compared with experiments.


Inert Atmosphere Velocity Curve Collision Cross Section Half Cycle Sample Vapor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A. Arrak, “A Universal Method for Spectrochemical Analysis of Ferrous Alloys,” Spex Speaker 8: 3 (1963).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. Arrak, International Conference on Spectroscopy, College Park, Maryland (June, 1962).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    H. Kaiser and A. Wallraff, Ann. Phys. 34; 297 (1939).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    D. Steinhaus, H.M. Crosswhite, and G.H. Dieke, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43: 257 (1953).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    L. Pauling, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 69: 542 (1947).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    L. S. Mandelstam, Spectrochim. Acta 15: 255 (1959).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    N. K. Sukhodrev, “On Spectral Excitation in a Spark Discharge,” Transactions of P.N. Lebedev Physics Inst. 15: Part 3 (Research on Spectroscopy and Luminescence) Moscow (1961).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chicago Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy 1965

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arno Arrak
    • 1
  1. 1.Grumman Aircraft Engineering CorporationBethpage, Long IslandUSA

Personalised recommendations