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Studies of Energy Transfer and Ionization Processes in a Helium ICP

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The spectral consequences of the introduction of varying concentrations of heavy rare gas atoms into a reduced-pressure helium ICP have been examined. A term-dependent quenching of He(I) emission was observed and is consistent with previous work on a kinetic model for this ICP. In addition, the ionization behavior of the added rare gases has been studied, and a simple rule seems to emerge from the results: the first ionization potential of helium represents an upper bound to the plasma energy available (probably through collisional processes) to excite and/or ionize added species. Although spectroscopic temperatures can be calculated from the state population distributions for the added neutral gas atoms, the fact that the values vary with concentration and with the chemical identity of the species betrays the fact that the plasma is not in local thermodynamic equilibrium with respect to neutral atoms. Quite differently, the results for plasma positive ions show the same statistically determined spectroscopic temperatures; thus, it appears that these ions are nearly equilibrated and also suprathermal in population distribution.

Keywords: Helium ICP; Plasma ionization; Spectroscopic temperature

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Chemistry Department, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0172

Publication date: May 1, 1987

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