Nanosecond pulsed discharges in distilled water: I. Continuum radiation and plasma ignition

Grosse, K. and Schulz-Von Der Gathen, V. and Von Keudell, A.

Volume: 29 Pages:
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/aba487
Published: 2020

Nanosecond plasmas in liquids are an important method to trigger the water chemistry for electrolysis or for biomedical applications in plasma medicine. The understanding of these chemical processes relies on knowing the variation of the temperatures in these dynamic plasmas. This is analyzed by monitoring nanosecond pulsed plasmas that are generated by high voltages at 20 kV and pulse lengths of 15 ns applied to a tungsten tip with 50 μm diameter immersed in water. Plasma emission is analyzed by optical emission spectroscopy ranging from UV wavelengths of 250 nm to visible wavelengths of 850 nm at a high temporal resolution of 2 ns. The spectra are dominated by the black body continuum from the hot tungsten surface and line emissions from the hydrogen Balmer series. Typical temperatures from 6000 K up to 8000 K are reached for the tungsten surface corresponding to the boiling temperature of tungsten at varying tungsten vapor pressures. The analysis of the ignition process and the concurrent spectral features indicate that the plasma is initiated by field ionization of water molecules at the electrode surface. At the end of the pulse, field emission of electrons can occur. During the plasma pulse, it is postulated that the plasma contracts locally at the electrode surface forming a hot spot. This causes a characteristic contribution to the continuum emission at small wavelengths. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.

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