Plasma and Fusion Research

Volume 11, 1401121 (2016)

Regular Articles

Effect of Electrode Material to Current-Voltage Characteristics of a Gerdien Condenser
Ma Camille C. LACDAN and Motoi WADA
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Doshisha University, Kyotanabe, Kyoto 610-0321, Japan
(Received 17 August 2016 / Accepted 25 October 2016 / Published 9 December 2016)


Effects due to kind of materials used for the collector electrode of a Gerdien condenser upon the current-voltage (I-V) characteristics were investigated. Aluminum, copper and nickel electrodes were initially polished and cleaned and the I-V characteristics were recorded with 15-minutes interval under exposure to ambient air. Results showed that the zero-crossing voltage in the I-V curve shifted toward negative electrical potential, while the saturation current decreased in accordance with the passage of time. The electrode surfaces showed clear change in the color after operation. Ion mobilities and ion species concentrations were determined from the measured I-V characteristics and they indicate sizable difference by the electrode aging effect. The aluminum electrode showed stable positive and negative saturation currents within 180 minutes, while the saturation current decreased down to 50% of the initial value.


atmospheric plasma, Gerdien condenser, ion density, ion mobility, I-V characteristics, plasma characterization

DOI: 10.1585/pfr.11.1401121


  • [1] A. Pedersen, Tellus XVII 1 (1965).
  • [2] K.A. Higazi and J.A. Chalmers, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys. 28, 327 (1966).
  • [3] J.N. Brownlee, A fast mobility spectrometer for atmospheric ions, PhD Thesis, University of Auckland, 1973.
  • [4] K. Aplin, Instrumentation for atmospheric ion measurements, PhD Thesis, Department of Meteorology, The University of Reading, United Kingdom, 2000.
  • [5] H.U. Widdel et al., J. Geophys. Res. 81, 6217 (1976).
  • [6] M.C.C. Lacdan and M. Wada, Plasma Fusion Res. 11, 8 (2016).
  • [7] V. Baglin et al., The secondary electron yield of technical materials and its variation with surface treatments, Proceedings of EPAC 2000, Vienna Austria.
  • [8] L. Wahlin, Atmospheric electrostatics (Research Studies Press, Letchworth 1986).
  • [9] R.G. Harrison and K.L. Aplin, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 71, 12 (2000).
  • [10] H. Hatakeyama et al., Recent advances in atmospheric electricty (Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1958) p.119-135.
  • [11] S.M. Das, Studies on atmospheric electric parameters, PhD Thesis, Ph.D. Dissertation, Cochin University of Science and Technology, India, 1993.
  • [12] D. Burt, The development of gerdien condenser for sounding rockets, Scientific Report No. 8 Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory, Office of Aerospace Research, United States Air Force, May 1967.
  • [13] H.W. Ellis et al., Atomic Data Nucl. Data Tables 17, 177 (1976).
  • [14] L.A. Viehland et al., Atomic Data Nucl.Data Tables 60, 37 (1995).