Abstract

Laser-induced fluorescence of the Hα transition of atomic hydrogen has previously been performed in the plume of a hydrogen arcjet thruster. Measurements of plasma velocity and temperature, based on the Doppler shift and broadening of the Hα line shape, were previously published [Appl. Opt. 32, 6117 (1993)]. In that paper the Stark broadening of the Hα transition was estimated from static-ion calculations performed in the early 1970’s and found to be negligible in comparison with the Doppler broadening. However, more recent dynamic-ion calculations have shown the Stark broadening to be considerably larger than was previously assumed, resulting in inaccurate temperature measurements. We present a reanalysis of the fluorescence data, taking into account the improved Stark broadening calculations. The correct atomic hydrogen translation temperature and electron number density are obtained from the Doppler and Stark broadening components of the measured line shape. The results indicate a substantial drop in temperature from those previously reported.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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