Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Mark E Koepke

Committee Co-Chair

Paul Cassak

Committee Member

Paul Miller

Committee Member

Julian Schulze

Committee Member

Charter Stinespring


Argon emission lines, particularly those in the near-infrared region (700-900nm), are used to determine plasma properties in low-temperature, partially ionized plasmas to determine effective electron temperature [Boffard et al., 2012], and argon excited state density [Boffard et al., 2009] using appropriately assumed electron energy distributions. While the effect of radiation trapping influences the interpretation of plasma properties from emission-line ratio analysis, eliminating the need to account for these effects by directly observing the 3px-to-1sy transitions [ Boffard et al., 2012] is preferable in most cases as this simplifies the analysis. In this dissertation, a 1-Torr argon, pulsed positive column in a hollow-cathode discharge is used to study the correlation between four quantities: 420.1-419.8nm emission-line ratio, metastable-atom density, reduced electric field, and electron energy distribution.;The extended coronal model is used to acquire an expression for 420.1-419.8nm emission-line ratio, which is sensitive to direct electron-impact excitation of argon excited states as well as stepwise electron-impact excitation of argon excited states for the purpose of inferring plasma quantities from experimental measurements. Initial inspection of the 420.1-419.8nm emission-line ratio suggests the pulse may be empirically divided into three distinct stages labelled the Initiation Stage, Transient Stage, and Post-Transient stage. Using equilibrium electron energy distributions from simulation to deduce excitation rates [Adams et al., 2012] in the extended coronal model affords agreement between predicted and observed metastable density in the Post-Transient stage of the discharge [Franek et al., 2015].;Applying this model-assisted diagnostic technique to the characterization of plasma systems utilizing lower-resolution spectroscopic systems is not straightforward, however, as the 419.8nm and 420.1nm emission-line profiles are convolved and become insufficiently resolved for treating the convolution as two separate emission-lines. To remedy this, the argon 425.9nm emission-line is evaluated as a proxy for the 419.8 nm emission-line. Both emission-lines (419.8nm and 425.9nm) are attributed to direct excitation from the argon ground state. The intensity of the 425.9nm emission-line is compared to the intensity of the 419.8nm emission-line over a range of plasma conditions to infer the same plasma quantities from similar experimental measurements. Discrepancies between the observed intensities of the emission-lines (419.8nm, 425.9nm) are explained by electron-impact cross-sections of their parent states. It is shown that the intensity of the argon 425.9nm emission-line is similar to that of the 419.8nm emission-line. The difference between the observed emission lines (425.9nm, 419.8nm) is attributed to the electron energy distribution in the plasma.