Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The post-discharge of an RF plasma torch supplied with helium and oxygen gases is characterized by mass spectrometry, optical emission spectroscopy and electrical measurements. We have proved the existence of a dc current in the post-discharge (1-20A), attributed to the Penning ionization of atmospheric nitrogen and oxygenated species. The mechanisms ruling this dc current are investigated through experiments in which we discuss the influence of the O 2 flow rate, the He flow rate and the distance separating the plasma torch from a material surface located downstream. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.