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Measurements of the behaviour of neutral atom density in a diffuse vacuum arc by laser-induced fluorescence (LIF)

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6 Author(s)
Hayess, E. ; Central Inst. of Electron Phys., Acad. of Sci., Berlin, East Germany ; Juttner, B. ; Lieder, G. ; Neumann, W.
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The method of laser-induced fluorescence was used to study the behavior of the absolute neutral vapor density of a diffuse vacuum arc on FeCu contacts. The local and temporal resolutions were 1 mm3 and 10 μs, respectively. The arc current had a sinusoidal shape of 5.8-ms duration with peak values of 90 and 510 A. It was found that the maximum densities of the iron and copper atoms are 1.2×10 17 m-3 and 7.5×1017 m-3, respectively. During the arc the density was correlated with the current. At current zero the measured densities decreased to 10 16 m-3. After current zero, an exponential density decay with a time constant of about 100 μs was observed, indicating the recovery of dielectric strength after current zero. Measurements of the neutron iron vapor density at different spatial positions in the electrode gap reveal a nonisotropic distribution. From the measurements of the population distribution of the iron ground-state multiplet a 5D, the excitation temperature was derived. This temperature was low compared with the cathode spot temperature 2500-4000 K and decreased from 1600 K at the current maximum to 1000 K at current zero. The results indicate that the generation of neutrals is caused by flying evaporating metal droplets rather than by molten surface areas

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