Abstract

The observed presence of important densities of U ions in our hollow-cathode discharges has prompted our laboratory to investigate in detail the different processes that are responsible for the measured U+ densities. To assess the importance of Penning-type reactions as an ionizing mechanism in our discharges, we have investigated the correlation between metastable Kr and U ii ground-state densities in the discharge glow and the decay rates of Kr metastable states in the discharge afterglow of a krypton-sustained uranium hollow-cathode discharge. From the results obtained we must conclude that when the discharge is pulsed Penning-type reactions play but a secondary role in the overall ionization of uranium. The main ionization mechanisms appear to be due to electron collisions with U atoms.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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