Effect of preionization, fluorine concentration, and current density on the discharge uniformity in F2 excimer laser gas mixtures

D. Mathew, Hubertus M.J. Bastiaens, Klaus J. Boller, P.J.M. Peters

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The discharge homogeneity in F2-based excimer laser gas mixtures and its dependence on various key parameters, such as the degree of preionization, preionization delay time, F2 concentration and current density, is investigated in a small x-ray preionized discharge chamber. The spatial and temporal evolution of the discharges is monitored by taking photographs of the discharge fluorescence with a fast intensified CCD camera. It is found that a preionization electron density of about 107 cm−3 bar−1 is sufficient to initiate a streamer-free homogeneous discharge in gas mixtures of helium and fluorine with multiatmospheric gas pressure. The accompanying optimum time delay between the application of the x-ray pulse and voltage across the discharge electrodes is determined to be about 20 ns. It is shown that in spite of these optimum initial conditions, a homogeneous glow discharge eventually transforms into an inhomogeneous discharge containing numerous filaments. Our experiments show that the higher the initial F2 concentration, the initial current density or the pump power density, the shorter the time interval over which the discharge stays homogeneous. By a quantitative characterization and defining a detailed measure of the observed discharge inhomogeneity we find that halogen depletion, as suggested from the theory, is responsible for the temporal instability of discharges in such laser gas mixtures, as the experimental results are in good agreement with the theory on the halogen depletion instability mechanism
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)033305-1-0333-5-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number033305
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • IR-57940
  • METIS-240709

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