A robust method to measure metastable and resonant state densities from emission spectra in argon and argon-diluted low pressure plasmas

Martin Schulze, A. Yanguas-Gil, Achim von Keudell, Peter Awakowicz

Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 41 (2008)


A simple robust method is presented to determine the densities of metastable and resonant species in low temperature, low pressure argon and argon-diluted plasmas. The ratios of spectral lines which correspond to transitions from common upper states to resonant or metastable lower states are measured with low resolution optical spectrographs. Photon reabsorption makes these ratios sensitive to the population densities of the lower states. The concept of escape factors is used to develop a set of nonlinear equations for the line ratios, which does not depend on the densities of the upper states. By means of a least squares method, the equations can be solved for metastable and resonant state population densities. The method does not depend on the nature of the excitation process, which makes it superior to other spectroscopic techniques in situations where the electron energy distribution is not known.