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Study of memory effect in an Atmospheric Pressure Townsend Discharge in the mixture N2/O2 using laser induced fluorescence

Abstract : Dielectric barrier discharge is a type of non-equilibrium discharge, operating at atmospheric pressure. Normally, it is generated in filamentary mode which is characterized by a multitude of micro-discharges. Nevertheless, under certain conditions, it is possible to obtain a homogeneous discharge. In our study, the discharge is ignited in a nitrogen based atmosphere at atmospheric pressure and since its electrical characteristics are similar to that of a Townsend discharge at low pressure, it is called atmospheric pressure Townsend discharge (APTD). To maintain a Townsend discharge, a memory effect between two successive discharges is necessary. This memory effect is characterized by the creation of seed electrons under low electric field. A marker of this memory effect can be observed on the electrical characteristics: a current jump is observed when the gas voltage polarity reverses. The larger the current jump, the more important the memory effect. Previous investigations showed the importance of the N2(A) metastable molecules, which produce electrons by secondary emission on the dielectrics. Nevertheless, we observe that the addition of a small amount of oxidizing gas (in this case oxygen) results in a more stable homogeneous discharge, despite the considerable destruction of N2(A) by quenching by the oxidizing species. Therefore, we propose another process for the production of seed electrons, based on the following associative ionization reaction: N(2P)+O(3P)-->NO++e- where N(2P) is created by: N(4S)+N2(A)-->N(2P)+N2(X). To verify this hypothesis, laser-induced fluorescence (LIF/TALIF) measurements were done to determine the absolute densities of N(4S), O(3P) and NO(X) between two discharges. The measurements were performed under different experimental conditions to study the influence of the gas flow, the discharge power and more specifically the concentration of oxygen. For increasing oxygen concentration up to 200ppm, the density of N(4S) decreases because of its higher destruction by the oxidizing species. The densities of O(3P) and NO(X) increase and then become nearly constant. It can be explained by the fact that the production mechanisms of O(3P) and NO(X) involve N2(A) molecules. Then, whereas the addition of a small amount of oxygen favors the production of O(3P) and NO(X), a higher oxygen concentration induces a larger destruction of N2(A) by quenching due to the oxidizing species, which finally limits the production of O(3P) and NO(X). Knowing the densities of N(4S), O(3P) and NO(X) from experimental measurements, and the density of N2(A) from the work of Dilecce et al, the density of N(2P) can be estimated using a simple model, as well as the production of electrons due to associative ionizations. Finally the current jump can be calculated. The evolutions of the measured and calculated current jump have the same tendency even if the calculated values are much higher. In conclusion, associative ionization can be considered as a serious candidate to explain the increase of the memory effect and discharge stability when a small amount of oxygen is added to the nitrogen atmosphere of an APTD.
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Xi Lin. Study of memory effect in an Atmospheric Pressure Townsend Discharge in the mixture N2/O2 using laser induced fluorescence. Plasmas. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019TOU30007⟩. ⟨tel-02915664⟩

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