Nanosecond repetitively pulsed discharges in air at atmospheric pressure-the spark regime

David Z. Pai, Deanna A. Lacoste, Christophe O. Laux

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166 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nanosecond repetitively pulsed (NRP) spark discharges have been studied in atmospheric pressure air preheated to 1000 K. Measurements of spark initiation and stability, plasma dynamics, gas temperature and current-voltage characteristics of the spark regime are presented. Using 10 ns pulses applied repetitively at 30 kHz, we find that 2-400 pulses are required to initiate the spark, depending on the applied voltage. Furthermore, about 30-50 pulses are required for the spark discharge to reach steady state, following initiation. Based on space- and time-resolved optical emission spectroscopy, the spark discharge in steady state is found to ignite homogeneously in the discharge gap, without evidence of an initial streamer. Using measured emission from the N2 (C-B) 0-0 band, it is found that the gas temperature rises by several thousand Kelvin in the span of about 30 ns following the application of the high-voltage pulse. Current-voltage measurements show that up to 20-40A of conduction current is generated, which corresponds to an electron number density of up to 1015 cm-3 towards the end of the high-voltage pulse. The discharge dynamics, gas temperature and electron number density are consistent with a streamer-less spark that develops homogeneously through avalanche ionization in volume. This occurs because the pre-ionization electron number density of about 1011 cm-3 produced by the high frequency train of pulses is above the critical density for streamer-less discharge development, which is shown to be about 108 cm -3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number065015
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Volume19
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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