Influence of excited state spatial distributions on plasma diagnostics: Atmospheric pressure laser-induced He-H2 plasma

Monfared, Shabnam K.; Hüwel, Lutz
October 2012
Journal of Applied Physics;Oct2012, Vol. 112 Issue 8, p083302
Academic Journal
Atmospheric pressure plasmas in helium-hydrogen mixtures with H2 molar concentrations ranging from 0.13% to 19.7% were investigated at times from 1 to 25 μs after formation by a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser. Spatially integrated electron density values are obtained using time resolved optical emission spectroscopic techniques. Depending on mixture concentration and delay time, electron densities vary from almost 1017 cm-3 to about 1014 cm-3. Helium based results agree reasonably well with each other, as do values extracted from the Hα and Hβ emission lines. However, in particular for delays up to about 7 μs and in mixtures with less than 1% hydrogen, large discrepancies are observed between results obtained from the two species. Differences decrease with increasing hydrogen partial pressure and/or increasing delay time. In mixtures with molecular hydrogen fraction of 7% or more, all methods yield electron densities that are in good agreement. These findings seemingly contradict the well-established idea that addition of small amounts of hydrogen for diagnostic purposes does not perturb the plasma. Using Abel inversion analysis of the experimental data and a semi-empirical numerical model, we demonstrate that the major part of the detected discrepancies can be traced to differences in the spatial distributions of excited helium and hydrogen neutrals. The model yields spatially resolved emission intensities and electron density profiles that are in qualitative agreement with experiment. For the test case of a 1% H2 mixture at 5 μs delay, our model suggests that high electron temperatures cause an elevated degree of ionization and thus a reduction of excited hydrogen concentration relative to that of helium near the plasma center. As a result, spatially integrated analysis of hydrogen emission lines leads to oversampling of the plasma perimeter and thus to lower electron density values compared to those obtained from helium lines.


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