The effect of arc plasma ionization on its temperature diagnosis by the measurement of the refractive index is discussed. The refractive index of arc plasma in two conditions is compared: 1) only the first ionization is considered and 2) both the first and second ionizations are considered. In order to facilitate plasma temperature reconstruction, two corresponding refractive index models are deduced. For the sake of making this study universal, both the monatomic and dual-atomic molecule arc plasmas are chosen as typical examples for theoretical deduction and analysis. A condition, which can be adopted to estimate whether the second ionization should be considered in temperature reconstruction, is proposed. Finally, an argon arc plasma is chosen as an example for experiment, and the experimental results match well with the theoretical analysis. This study is crucial to arc plasma’s optical diagnosis, which is based on the measurement of the refractive index.
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