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Kirlian Photography using a Transparent Discharge Plate

Coin - Kirlian Photograph

To take Kirlian photographs using a standard 35mm film camera, digital camera or video camera, requires the use of a transparent discharge plate.
To shoot Kirlian Photographs using a transparent discharge plate, the object is placed on one side and the camera on the other. The high voltage is applied to the transparent discharge plate and the camera shoots through the transparent discharge to capture the corona discharge around the object, see Figure 1 below.

A transparent discharge plate is constructed from three main components; a 4" x 5" piece of glass that has a transparent conductive coating (typically tin oxide) on one side, see parts list, a ring electrode made from thin adhesive copper foil, and two .005 thick pieces of transparent plastic. The transparency of our transparent discharge plates surpasses 90 percent.
ArrangementThe conductive tin oxide coating on the glass is delicate. The high voltages involved in Kirlian photography can easily vaporize the coating. To prevent this from happening care must be exercised in the construction. If a solid electrical connection is not made between the tin oxide coating and the HV source the connection will spark between the HV conductor and tin oxide coating, vaporizing the tin oxide coating in the process. This renders the electrode useless. Second, a single point connection to the tin oxide coating doesn't work for the same reason. The point source of the connection initiates a spark then continues to travel, vaporizing the tin oxide coating. It's a little interesting to watch. Starting from the single point connection and continuing to vaporize the tin oxide until the HV source can no longer spark (jump) across the distance. So, soldering a wire directly to the tin oxide will not work.
The solution is to make a ring electrode that makes contact with the tin oxide coating on all of the glass edges. This is a large surface area electrode.

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