Abstract

Stark-broadened emission profiles of the Balmer series Hβ lines are measured subsequent to nanosecond laser-induced optical breakdown in gaseous hydrogen. Electron number densities are found from time-resolved spectra from Hβ emissions to be in the range 1015–1018 cm-3. These results are compared with Hα measurements for which number densities as high as 1019 cm-3 are determined from Stark widths and Stark shifts. Good agreement is reported for number densities inferred from Hα and Hβ emissions, down to an electron number density 3 × 1016 cm-3, by accurate treatment of ion dynamics in the theory.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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