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Stable, direct current microhollow cathode discharges in mixtures of hydrochloric acid, hydrogen, xenon, and neon have been generated in a pressure range of 200–1150 Torr. The cathode hole diameter was 250 μm. Sustaining voltages range from 180 to 250 V at current levels of up to 5 mA. The discharges are strong sources of xenon chloride excimer emission at a wavelength of 308 nm. Internal efficiencies of approximately 3% have been reached at a pressure of 1050 Torr. The spectral radiant power at this pressure was measured as 5 mW/nm at 308 nm for a 3 mA discharge. By using a sandwich electrode configuration, consisting of five perforated, alternate layers of metal and dielectric, a tandem discharge—two discharges in series—could be generated. For an anode–cathode–anode configuration the excimer irradiance, recorded on the axis of the discharge, was twice as large as that of a single discharge. The extension of this basic tandem electrode structure to a multiple electrode configuration allows the generation of high irradiance excimer sources. Placing such a structure with a string of microhollow cathode discharge into an optical resonator promises to lead to a direct current microexcimer laser. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.