Ionisation Mechanisms in AN Optically Pumped Mercury Vapour.
Available from UMI in association with The British Library. Requires signed TDF. A plasma formed in a mercury vapour by optical pumping at visible and U.V. wavelengths from a high current mercury discharge, has been investigated with a view to gaining an understanding of the ionisation processes giving rise to the plasma. These were believed to generate both atomic and molecular ions. The results of this work have applications in the fields of fluorescent lighting and the mercury-nitrogen laser. The plasma was studied with a variety of diagnostic tools. Electron number densities and temperatures were determined using Langmuir probes operating in the orbital motion limited regime. Populations of the 6^3 P triplet states, believed to be the only significantly populated excited states in the plasma, were determined using absorption spectroscopy. Lastly, a quadrupole mass spectrometer, coupled to the plasma with an electrostatic ion transport system, was used to investigate the flux of atomic and molecular ions to a body at floating potential in the plasma. The Langmuir probe and absorption spectroscopy results were included into a model describing ion motions in the plasma, based around the ion fluid equations and including source terms for the generation of atomic and molecular ions, both by electron impact and by binary collisions of atoms in the 6^3P triplet states. Where possible, ionisation rats in the model were calculated using published cross-sections. However, for the heavy body collisional processes in particular, many of these are unknown. Consequently, an attempt was made to determine these cross-sections by generating results from the model that could be compared to experimental measurements of the atomic and molecular ion fluxes to the mass spectrometer. A number of computational experiments were carried out, varying the cross-sections until a good fit to the experimental measurements was achieved. Using this technique it was possible to estimate cross-sections for the molecular ion forming 6 ^3P_1-6^3 P_1 and 6^3 P_1-6^3P _2 collisions and a lower bound for the atomic ion forming 6^3P _2-6^3P_2 collision.
- Pub Date:
- Physics: Fluid and Plasma