lonization and quenching of excited atoms with the production of fast electrons
Studies of reactions involving excited atoms, which result in the release of electrons with energies exceeding the mean plasma electron energy, are reviewed. Particular attention is devoted to plasma electron spectroscopy (PES) which combines the advantages of studies of elementary plasma processes with those of traditional electron spectroscopy. Data obtained by investigating the following reactions are reported: chemoionization with the participation of two excited inert-gas atoms, Penning ionization of atoms and molecules by metastable helium atoms, and electron quenching of excited inert-gas atoms and mercury atoms. The effect of processes in which fast electrons are emitted on plasma properties is discussed.