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Title: On the difference between breakdown and quench voltages of argon plasma and its relation to 4p–4s atomic state transitions

Using a relaxation oscillator circuit, breakdown (V{sub BD}) and quench (V{sub Q}) voltages of a DC discharge microplasma between two needle probes are measured. High resolution modified Paschen curves are obtained for argon microplasmas including a quench voltage curve representing the voltage at which the plasma turns off. It is shown that for a point to point microgap (e.g., the microgap between two needle probes) which describes many realistic microdevices, neither Paschen's law applies nor field emission is noticeable. Although normally V{sub BD} > V{sub Q,} it is observed that depending on environmental parameters of argon, such as pressure and the driving circuitry, plasma can exist in a different state with equal V{sub BD} and V{sub Q.} Using emission line spectroscopy, it is shown that V{sub BD} and V{sub Q} are equal if the atomic excitation by the electric field dipole moment dominantly leads to one of the argon's metastable states (4P{sub 5} in our study)
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22420283
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Applied Physics Letters; Journal Volume: 106; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; ARGON; BREAKDOWN; DIPOLE MOMENTS; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; FIELD EMISSION; PASCHEN LAW; PLASMA; SPECTROSCOPY