# ELECTRON-MEDIATED VIBRATION-ELECTRONIC ENERGY TRANSFER IN OPTICALLY PUMPED $PLASMAS^{a}$

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 Title: ELECTRON-MEDIATED VIBRATION-ELECTRONIC ENERGY TRANSFER IN OPTICALLY PUMPED $PLASMAS^{a}$ Creators: Plonjes, E.; Palm, P.; Rich, J. W.; Adamovich, I.; Urban, W. Issue Date: 2002 Publisher: Ohio State University Abstract: The paper discusses experiments on vibration-to-electronic energy transfer in CO laser pumped CO-Ar and $CO-N_{2}$ plasmas. The CO molecules absorb the laser radiation on the lowest 10 vibrational transitions and transfer energy to high vibrational states by vibration-vibration energy exchange collisions. Ionization in these strongly nonequilibrium plasmas occurs by an associative ionization mechanism in collisions of two highly excited CO molecules. Removal of the electrons from the optically pumped plasmas using a saturated Thomson discharge results in a substantial reduction of the UV/visible radiation from the plasma (CO fourth positive bands, NO $\gamma$ bands, CN violet bands, and $C_{2}$ Swan bands). This effect occurs even though electron removal results in an increase of the high vibrational level populations of the electronic ground state $CO(X^{1}\sum, v {\sim} 15-35)$. On the other hand, deliberate electron density increase by adding small amounts of $O_{2}$ or NO to the optically pumped CO-Ar plasmas produces a substantial increase of the UV/visible radiation intensity, which correlates with the electron density. The experiments strongly suggest that the V-E energy transfer process $CO(X^{1}\sum \rightarrow A^{1}\Pi)$, and, possibly, analogous processes populating radiating excited electronic states of NO, CN, and $C_{2}$, are mediated by free electrons, which are created in the absence of an electric field, with low initial energies. This effect occurs at ionization fractions as low as $n_{e}/N {\sim} 10^{-9}-10^{-7}$. Description: $^{a}$The research is funded by the AFOSR Space Propulsion and Power Program under Grant No. F49620-01-0017 Author Institution: Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University; Institut f\""ur Angewandte Physik, Universit\""at Bonn URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1811/20681 Other Identifiers: 2002-WG-04