In an electro-acoustic transduction mechanism, an ac modulation (here in the audio frequency range) of the electric field in an atmospheric pressure air plasma gives rise to a rapid increase in the gas temperature and dimensions of the gas volume. As in natural lightning, the rapid expansion in the ionised column though the air produces external pressure variations at the modulation frequency. \ud \ud Spatial and temporal measurement of the gas temperature can identify the nature of the thermal expansion and provide a direct approach to understanding its relationship to the sound pressure wave that is generated. However, the established method through spectroscopic measurement of rotational line emission from nitrogen molecules is limited to the main current channel where relaxation and subsequent optical emission of the excited nitrogen molecules occurs. The wider picture is revealed through the use of the Schlieren method where the refractive index gradients caused by gas heating in the plasma are imaged
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