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Journal of Applied Physics










The excimer emission from direct current glow discharges between a planar cathode and a ring-shaped anode of 0.75 and 1.5 mm diameter, respectively, separated by a gap of 250 μm, was studied in xenon and argon in a pressure range from 75 to 760 Torr. The thickness of the “cathode boundary layer” plasma, in the 100 μm range, and a discharge sustaining voltage of approximately 200 V, indicates that the discharge is restricted to the cathode fall and the negative glow. The radiant excimer emittance at 172 nm increases with pressure and reaches a value of 4 W/cm2 for atmospheric pressure operation in xenon. The maximum internal efficiency, however, decreases with pressure having highest values of 5% for 75 Torr operation. When the discharge current is reduced below a critical value, the discharge in xenon changes from an abnormal glow into a mode showing self-organization of the plasma. Also, the excimer spectrum changes from one with about equal contributions from the first and second continuum to one that is dominated by the second continuum emission. The xenon excimer emission intensity peaks at this discharge mode transition. In the case of argon, self-organization of the plasma was not seen, but the emission of the excimer radiation (128 nm) again shows a maximum at the transition from abnormal to normal glow. As was observed with xenon, the radiant emittance of argon increases with pressure, and the efficiency decreases. The maximum radiant emittance is 1.6 W/cm2 for argon at 600 Torr. The maximum internal efficiency is 2.5% at 200 Torr. The positive slope of the current–voltage characteristics at maximum excimer emission in both cases indicates the possibility of generating intense, large area, flat excimer lamps.


This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. This article appeared in Journal of Applied Physics 95 (4) 1642-1649 and may be found at

Original Publication Citation

Moselhy, M., & Schoenbach, K. H. (2004). Excimer emission from cathode boundary layer discharges. Journal of Applied Physics, 95(4), 1642-1649. doi:10.1063/1.1640789


0000-0001-7867-7773 (Schoenbach)