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Validity conditions for complete and partial local thermodynamic equilibrium of nonhydrogenic level systems and their application to copper vapor arcs in vacuum

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3 Author(s)
Anders, Andre ; Central Inst. of Electron Phys., Acad. of Sci., Berlin, East Germany ; Anders, Simone ; Hantzsche, E.

Validity conditions for complete and partial local thermodynamic equilibrium (CLTE and PLTE) of homogeneous, time-dependent, and optically thin plasmas are derived. For Cu I, electron densities of ne⩾(5×1022-5×1023 ) m-3 are required for the establishment of CLTE. For Cu I and Cu II, ne⩾(5×1021-5×1021 -5×1022) m-3 is necessary for PLTE (for electron temperatures of 1-2 eV). Application to low-current copper vapor arcs in vacuum shows that CLTE can be expected for r<200-600 μm (r=distance from the cathode spot). A further limitation follows for temperatures of 2 eV or higher if diffusion effects are taken into consideration. Consequently, the use of the LTE formulas in plasma spectroscopy of low-current vacuum arcs is very limited

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 5 )