Breakdown and dc discharge in low-pressure water vapour

Jelena Sivoš, Nikola Škoro, Dragana Marić, Gordana Malović, Zoran Petrović

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13 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we report studies of basic properties of breakdown, low-current Townsend discharge and high-current discharge regimes in water vapour. Paschen curves and the corresponding distributions of emission intensities at low current were recorded in the range of pd (pressure x electrode gap) from 0.1 to 10 Torrcm covering the region of Paschen minimum. From the experimental profiles we obtained effective ionization coefficient of water vapour for the E/N range 650Td–7 kTd and fitted the results by using the extended Townsend
analytical formula. Using the obtained ionization coefficient, we calculated the effective yield of secondary electrons from the copper cathode. Results of the measurements of Volt-Ampere characteristics in water vapour were presented together with the images of the axial structure of the discharge in a wide range of discharge currents for two pd values. Recorded profiles showed development of the spatial structure of the discharge in different operating regimes.
We were able to identify conditions where processes induced by heavy particles, probably fast hydrogen atoms, are dominant in inducing emission from the discharge. Finally, standard scaling laws were tested for low current and glow discharges in water vapour.
Original languageEnglish
Article number424011
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Sept 2015


  • scaling laws
  • secondary electron yields
  • ionization coeffcients
  • volt-ampere characteristics
  • electrical gas breakdown
  • plasmas in liquids


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