Diffuse discharges preionized by runaway electrons can produce large-area homogeneous discharges at elevated pressures, which is an intriguing phenomenon in the physics of pulsed discharges. In this paper, runaway-electron-preionized diffuse discharge (REP DD) was obtained in a wide pressure range (0.05-0.25 MPa), and under certain conditions a positive streamer and a cathode-directed spark leader could be observed to propagate at some angles to the applied (background) electric field lines. For a 16-mm gap at an air pressure of 0.08-0.1 MPa, the percentage of pulses in which such propagation is observed is about 5%-50% of their total number, and in the other pulses such bent paths could not be observed because there is even no streamer or cathode-directed spark leader in diffuse discharges. In our opinion, such propagation of the positive streamer and the cathode-directed spark leader at some angle to the background electric field lines owes to different increase rates of the electron density in different regions of the discharge volume under REP DD conditions. Therefore, during the formation of a REP DD, the increase of the electron density is inhomogeneous and nonsimultaneous, resulting in an electron density gradient at the ionization wave front.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics