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Spatial stabilization of Townsend and glow discharges with a semiconducting cathode

Salamov, BG
Ellialtioglu, S
Akınoğlu, Bülent Gültekin
Lebedeva, NN
Patriskii, LG
The physical processes determining the functions of an ionization system and especially the discharge stabilization by the distributed resistance of a semiconducting cathode in such a system are studied. The current-voltage (I-U) characteristics of the system with a semiconducting GaAs cathode are obtained experimentally as functions of the gap pressure P (16-760 Torr) and inter-electrode distance d (10 mu m to 5 mm), which are varied for the first time over very wide ranges. The experiments showed that the presence of the distributed resistance affects the passage of the discharge current so that the discharge glows uniformly throughout the cathode surface and is not divided into separate filaments. The loss of stability was primarily due to the formation of a space charge of positive ions in the discharge gap which changed the discharge from the Townsend to the glow type.