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Article

Influence of Temperature on the Ionization Coefficient and Ignition Voltage of the Townsend Discharge in an Argon–Mercury Vapor Mixture

Technical Physics. 2017. Vol. 62. No. 2. P. 223-229.
Bondarenko G.G., Fisher M. R., Kristya V. I.

The kinetics of main types of charged and excited particles present in a low-current discharge in an argon–mercury vapor mixture used in gas-discharge illuminating lamps has been investigated in a wide interval of the reduced electric field strength and temperature. Mechanisms behind the production and loss of ions and metastable atoms have been discovered, and the temperature dependences of their contributions to maintaining their balance have been determined. It has been shown that, when the discharge is initiated in the lamp and the mercury content in the mixture is low, the ionization coefficient exceeds that in pure argon, which is almost exclusively due to the Penning reaction. The influence of this reaction grows with a reduction of the electric field strength in the interelectrode gap. The dependences of the discharge ignition voltage on the interelectrode gap (Paschen curves) for different temperatures of the mixture have been calculated, and the nonmonotonicity of the temperature dependence of the ignition voltage has been explained.