The Visible Radiation from Helium in a Strong Shock Wave Page: 2
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lory might provide tuples of a gas at temperature* like those found In
sparks and allow the samples to be studied while In Known equilibrium
states. Unpublished results of earlier experiments at Lot Alamos in
which an explosive-driven shock wave moved through a tube of stationary
gas and was reflected at a rigid wall suggested that the gas in the re-
flected shock would have a temperature of 1 or 2 ev. It was not xnown,
however, whether sufficient purity could be obtained to allow useful
spectrographlc studies, or how nearly the gas behind the reflected shock
would approach an equilibrium state.
Preliminary shock tube experiments were then .T*de which demon-
strated the feasibility of conducting a spectrographlc study of partially
Ionised helium In a known equilibrium slate. This problem was of mutual
interest to the two sponsoring institutions and Its investigation re-
quired facilities which were peculiar to Los Alamos. Helium was used
because It has a simple structure and is subject to comparatively simple
theoretical treatment. The results of such experiments with helium
would, however, have been of interest to astrophysicists even in the ab-
sence of satisfactory theories.
The visible spectrum of helium both in a strong external elec-
tric field and in the presence of ions has been a subject of considerable
theoretical interest. Because of its simple structure, the helium atom
has often been treated as a perturbed hydrogen atom where the magnitude
of the perturbation is determined by the separation of corresponding
energy levels in hydrogen and helium. Foster , in 1927» applied quantum
mechanics to the Stark effect in helium and verified his theoretical
**J. S. Foster, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London) A117, 137 (1927).
Go';? r c*»
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Seay, Glenn Emmett. The Visible Radiation from Helium in a Strong Shock Wave, report, January 1957; Los Alamos, New Mexico. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc502356/m1/9/: accessed July 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.