Letter | Published:

Direct Proof of the Existence of Metastable Molecules in Active Nitrogen

Nature volume 134, page 289 (25 August 1934) | Download Citation



THE two bands 2760.6 and 2603.8, which are the (0,6) and the (0,5) bands respectively of the new band system discovered by me recently in gaseous nitrogen1, have now been observed in the nitrogen afterglow. These bands originate on the A3 state, and their appearance in the afterglow provides direct proof of the existence in it of metastable molecules. The tube, in which the afterglow was photographed, was running in the so-called green stage2, corresponding to the lowest current at which it will show an appreciably strong afterglow. In this afterglow are also present both second-positive and first-positive bands, which originate on vibrational levels higher than those that normally occur in electrical discharges in nitrsogen. In fact, it is the presence of these first-positive bands that gives both the afterglow and the discharge their char acteristic green-white colour.

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  1. 1.

    , Phys. Rev., 45, 675; 1934.

  2. 2.

    , Phys. Rev., 45, 671; 1934.

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  1. University of California at Los Angeles. July 20.



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