Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Earl E Scime

Committee Co-Chair

Alan Bristow

Committee Member

Paul Cassak

Committee Member

Fabien Goulay

Committee Member

Amy Keesee


Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy CRDS is a proven, ultra-sensitive, cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy technique. When combined with a continuous wavelength (CW) diode laser that has a sufficiently narrow line width, the Doppler broadened absorption line, i.e., the velocity distribution functions (VDFs) of the absorbing species, can be measured. Measurements of VDFs can be made using established techniques such as laser induced fluorescence (LIF). However, LIF suffers from the requirement that the initial state of the LIF sequence have a substantial density and that the excitation scheme fluoresces at an easily detectable wavelength. This usually limits LIF to ions and atoms with large metastable state densities for the given plasma conditions. CW-CRDS is considerably more sensitive than LIF and can potentially be applied to much lower density populations of ion and atom states. Also, as a direct absorption technique, CW-CRDS measurements only need to be concerned with the species' absorption wavelength and provide an absolute measure of the line integrated initial state density. Presented in this work are measurements of argon ion and neutral VDFs in a helicon plasma using CW-CRDS and LIF.