Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Access Restrictions


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Skiff, Frederick Norman

First Committee Member

Skiff, Frederick Norman

Second Committee Member

Gurnett, Donald A

Third Committee Member

Goree, John A

Fourth Committee Member

Howes, Gregory G

Fifth Committee Member

Geng, M Lei


Extensive information can be obtained on wave-particle interactions and wave fields by direct measurement of perturbed ion distribution functions using laser-induced fluorescence (LIF). For practical purposes, LIF is frequently performed on metastable states that are produced from neutral gas particles and ions in other electronic states. If the laser intensity is increased to obtain a better LIF signal, then optical pumping can produce systematic effects depending on the collision rates which control metastable population and lifetime. We numerically simulate the ion velocity distribution measurement and wave-detection process using a Lagrangian model for the LIF signal. The simulations show that optical pumping broadening affects the ion velocity distribution function (IVDF) $f_0(v)$ and its first-order perturbation $f_1(v,t)$ when laser intensity is increased above a certain level. The results also suggest that ion temperature measurements are only accurate when the metastable ions can live longer than the ion-ion collision mean free time. For the purposes of wave detection, the wave period has to be significantly shorter than the lifetime of metastable ions for a direct interpretation. Experiments are carried out to study the optical pumping broadening and metastable lifetime effects, and the results are compared with the simulation in order to validate the Lagrangian model for LIF. It is more generally true that metastable ions may be viewed as test-particles. As long as an appropriate model is available, LIF can be extended to a range of environments.


Computational physics, Laser spectroscopy


xvii, 98 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 90-98).


This thesis has been optimized for improved web viewing. If you require the original version, contact the University Archives at the University of Iowa:


Copyright © 2018 Feng Chu

Included in

Physics Commons