Effects of discharge current and voltage on the high density of metastable helium atoms

Xian Ping Feng, D. Andruczyk, B. W. James, K. Takiyama, S. Namba, T. Oda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both hollow-cathode and Penning-type discharges were adopted to excite helium atoms to a metastable state. Experimental data indicate that Penning discharge is more suitable for generating high fractions of metastables in a low-density helium beam for laser-induced fluorescence technique in measuring electric fields at the edge of a plasma. The metastable density increases with increasing helium gas pressure in the range of 1.33×10-2-66. 7Pa. The highest metastable density of 3.8×1016m-3 is observed at a static gas pressure of 66.7Pa. An approximately linear relationship between the density of metastable helium atoms and the plasma discharge current is observed. Magnetic field plays a very important role in producing a high density of metastable atoms in Penning discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-501
Number of pages7
JournalChinese Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Electric field
  • Hollow-cathode discharge
  • Metastable atoms
  • Penning discharge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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