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Electron Number Density Measurements in Ar and Ar-N2 Inductively Coupled Plasmas

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The emission spectrum of the series limit of Al was used to estimate the electron number densities (ne ) in inductively coupled Ar or Ar-N2 plasmas (ICP). The spectra of the series limit were recorded either with a silicon-intensified target vidicon detector or by a computer-controlled, scanning spectrometer. Background stripping was performed on the spectra recorded by both instruments to enhance signal recovery. Under comparable experimental conditions, the ne values in the Ar-supported ICP were higher than those observed in Ar-N2 plasma, when pure N2 was used in the outer flow. However, the ne value of the Ar ICP under the conditions commonly used in analytical laboratories (15 mm observation height and 1200 W forward power) was comparable to that found in pure N2 outer flow, Ar-N2 plasmas operated under conditions (5 mm observation height and 3000 W forward power) suitable for exciting spectral lines of high excitation energies. Whereas the use of higher, carrier gas flows tended to reduce the ne values of the Ar ICP substantially, this trend was not observed for the pure N2 outer flow Ar-N2 plasma.

Keywords: Electron number density; Inductively coupled Ar and Ar-N2 ICP; Silicon-intensified target vidicon; Spectral line merging

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Ames Laboratory and Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011; present address: Department of Chemistry, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052 2: Ames Laboratory and Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011

Publication date: November 1, 1982

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