Research Advisor: Dr. Stephen Remillard
Many electronics utilize microgaps, and these electronics can produce plasma, whether intended or not, if it was not intended this plasma can damage the electronics. The breakdown condition and spectral emission of nitrogen and argon plasmas were examined in a microgap under microwave excitation. The differences of the plasma discharge were studied in three different microgap sizes, using nitrogen and argon. The breakdown condition was defined as the input power that ignites microplasma, and the breakdown condition exhibited three distinct pressure domains. These three domains were: under 10 torr, 10 – 300 torr and 300 – 700 torr. A diffraction grating spectrometer was used to test nitrogen and argon by exploring the emission spectra and by comparing the spectra from microgaps to large gaps, revealing peak oppression and enhancement in the microgaps. This enhancement is shown at a gap of 15μm and is then oppressed at a gap of 1.6mm, at a wavelength of 414nm with a 4 -> 5 vibration transition, and at 426nm with a 1 -> 5 vibration transition in N2. This is also shown in Ar at wavelengths of 591.2nm and 419.8nm.
This work was supported by the Hope College Dean for Natural and Applied Sciences and the Hope College Department of Physics, and is based on earlier support from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.