Micro-plasma is generated in ultra-high-pure hydrogen gas, which fills the inside of a cell at a pressure of (1.08 ± 0.033) × 105
Pa by using a Q-switched neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) laser device operated at a fundamental wavelength of 1064 nm and a pulse duration of 14 ns. The micro-plasma emission spectra of the hydrogen Balmer alpha line, Hα
, are recorded with a Czerny–Turner type spectrometer and an intensified charge-coupled device. The spectra are calibrated for wavelength and corrected for detector sensitivity. During the first few tens of nanoseconds after the initiation of optical breakdown, the significant Stark-broadened and Stark-shifted Hα
lines mark the well-above hypersonic outward expansion. The vertical diameters of the spectrally resolved plasma images are measured for the determination of expansion speeds, which were found to decrease from 100 to 10 km/s for time delays of 10 to 35 ns. For time delays of 0.5 µs to 1 µs, the expansion speed of the plasma decreases to the speed of sound of 1.3 km/s in the near ambient temperature and pressure of the hydrogen gas.
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