The objective of this study is to explore the electrical and optical characterization of zinc selenide (ZnSe) and zinc sulfide (ZnS) semiconductors as cathode materials of an Infrared image converter. The experiments and simulations have been performed for various converter parameters such as pressure, breakdown voltage, interelectrode distance and illumination. The plasma system has been excited by a dc source, and gas discharge phenomena has been determined under a wide atmospheric pressure range, p. The findings show that ZnS and ZnSe have similar electronic behavior in the image converter in general. The measured discharge currents vary for the two cathodes. In the simulations, the electron mobility, thermal velocity, 3D electron density, space and surface charge density, and mean electron energy have been explored in the Ar-filled converter. It has been proven that the two semiconductors exhibit different properties of discharge, in particular, the mobility of electrons, the ionization coefficients, the breakdown voltages U (B), thermal velocities of electrons and surface charge densities. According to the experimental and theoretical findings, ZnSe shows better electrical and optical characteristics for the Ar-filled converter.