Theses and Dissertations


Peeyush Sahay

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Wang, Chuji

Committee Member

Monts, David L.

Committee Member

Arnoldus, Henk F.

Committee Member

Berg, Matthew J.

Committee Member

Reese, Robert B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Applied Physics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Applied Physics Program


Electron impact excitation phenomena play an important role in atomic and molecular physics. The different energy levels of an atom or molecule interact differently with incoming electrons with different energies and that affects the excitation of the energy levels of the atoms and molecules. Studies involving electron impact excitation process are generally conducted with optical emission techniques or by the electron energy loss method. In the present study, for the first time, cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS) has been used to investigate electron impact excitation phenomena of electronatom collision processes. The technique, i.e., electron impact excitation-cavity ringdown spectroscopy (EIE-CRDS), was employed for the purposes of fundamental study and of real-time applications. The fundamental study which was carried out in terms of determining electron impact excitation cross section (EIECS) has been demonstrated by measuring EIECS of a few excited levels of mercury (Hg) atom. For the application side, the EIE-CRDS technique has been employed for trace element detection. This dissertation first describes the fundamentals of electron impact excitationcavity ringdown spectroscopy (EIE-CRDS); afterwards its applications are demonstrated. A novel method of measuring excitation cross sections using this EIE-CRDS technique has been explained. In this method, first the excitation of atoms are achieved by electron impact excitation process, subsequently, CRDS measured absolute number density is utilized to determine the absolute EIECS values. Steps of the method are described in detail. Applicability of the method is demonstrated by measuring EIECS of three different energy levels of Hg, namely 6s6p 3P0, 6s6p 3P1, and 6s7s 3S1, and the obtained values are in agreement with those reported in the literature. Secondly, the EIE-CRDS technique was employed to investigate the absorption spectrum of mercury atom in the vicinity of 404.65 nm, corresponding to the transition 6s7s 3S1 -> 6s6p 3P0 levels of mercury. Elemental mercury was measured using a laser of wavelength 404.65 nm. The technological feasibility of developing a portable size instrument for mercury detection was explored. Subsequently, a portable size, dual-mode, plasma-CRDS based prototype instrument, capable of real-time trace element monitoring, was developed. The design, functioning, and specifications of the instrument are also explained.