Plasma density evolution during nanosecond discharge in hydrogen gas at (1-3) × 105 Pa pressure

S. Yatom, Ya E. Krasik

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The results of a study of the nanosecond discharge in H2 gas at pressures of (1-3) × 105 Pa using fast-framing photography and space- and time-resolved spectroscopy are presented. The discharge is initiated by the application of a high-voltage pulse with an amplitude of ∼100 kV and duration of ∼5 ns to a blade cathode placed at a distance of 20 mm from the anode. The results show the dynamics of the discharge formation and the build-up of the plasma electron density in the discharge channels close to and at a distance from the edge of the cathode. The results obtained are compared to those obtained in recent studies of similar discharges in air and He gas. It was shown that the time and space evolution of the plasma light emission in the H2 gas discharge is very similar to that in air. Namely, the generation of the plasma is mainly confined to the plasma channels initiated at the top and bottom edges of the cathode electrode and that there are no new plasma channels formed from the explosive emission centres along the blade as it was obtained in earlier experiments with He gas. Spectroscopic measurements showed that the plasma density reaches 2 × 1017 cm-3 and 1.6 × 1016 cm-3 in the vicinity of the cathode and the middle of the anode-cathode gap, respectively, for a plasma electron temperature of <1.5 eV. The values of plasma electron density and the previously presented results of electric field measurements allow calculation of the resistance of the plasma channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number215202
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 30 2014


  • gas discharge diagnostics
  • nanosecond discharge
  • optical emission spectroscopy
  • plasma resistivity
  • runaway discharge


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