We present an optical electric field measurement method for use in high pressure plasma discharges. The method is based upon the field induced second harmonic generation technique and can be used for localized electric field measurements with sub-nanosecond resolution in any gaseous species. When an external electric field is present, a dipole is induced in the typically centrosymmetric medium, allowing for second harmonic generation with signal intensities which scale by the square of the electric field. Calibrations have been carried out in 100 Torr room air, and a minimum sensitivity of 450 V/cm is demonstrated. Measurements were performed with nanosecond or faster temporal resolution in a 100 Torr room air environment both with and without a plasma present. It was shown that with no plasma present, the field follows the applied voltage to gap ratio, as measured using the back current shunt method. When the electric field is strong enough to exceed the breakdown threshold, the measured field was shown to exceed the anticipated voltage to gap ratio which is taken as an indication of the ionization wave front as it sweeps through the plasma volume.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)