ABSTRACT: We present a high-sensitivity technique for time-resolved imaging of millimeter waves (MMWs) using the visible continuum (VC) from the positive column (PC) of a medium-pressure Cs–Xe dc discharge. For the MMW imaging application, a uniform plasma slab of the PC of a Cs–Xe discharge with 10×8 cm <sup>2</sup> aperture and 2 cm in thickness was generated for 45 Torr xenon. The imaging technique is based on the fact that the intensity of the e-Xe bremsstrahlung continuum from the PC increases in the visible region when the electrons in the plasma are heated by MMWs. It is shown that in the MMW intensity range from zero to the threshold of the microwave-induced plasma breakdown, the intensity of the VC from the PC of a Cs–Xe discharge increases approximately as a second-order polynomial function of the MMW intensity. The obtained experimental data agree well with our calculations of the dependence of the VC intensity on electron temperature. The Ka-band MMW field patterns at the output of conical horn antennas and in the quasioptical beam were imaged using the discharge technique. It is shown that the technique can be used for time-resolved measurement of the profiles of watt- and subwatt-level MMWs. An energy flux sensitivity of the technique of about 10 μ J / cm <sup>2</sup> in the Ka-band was demonstrated. The temporal resolution of the technique is about 0.8 μ s . Our modeling of the transient behavior of the electron temperature in the PC shows that the time history of the electron temperature variation coincides well with the measured time history of the VC intensity variation.
Journal of Applied Physics 04/2010; · 2.17 Impact Factor