Properties of microwave plasma torch operating at a low pressure

Cho, Soon C.; Uhm, Han S.; Hong, Yong C.; Kim, Jae H.
October 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Oct2008, Vol. 15 Issue 10, p103503
Academic Journal
A microwave plasma torch system is attached to a low-pressure chamber in this study. The electric field induced in a quartz discharge tube by microwave radiation breaks down the gas at a sufficiently low pressure, igniting the plasma, which is continuously sustained by the microwave radiation. The plasma profile at a very low pressure is shown to be asymmetric with higher density on the incoming side of the microwaves. The gas temperature at the bright spot of the torch plasma measured via the optical emission from hydroxide radicals is shown to increase drastically upon high-pressure operation as the microwave power increases. The electron density at the torch flame is measured by recording the Stark broadening of the hydrogen Balmer beta line. The plasma density increases as the microwave power increases. The typical argon plasma density of a plasma torch powered at 500 W under a pressure of 150 Torr is on the order of 1014/cm3. The electron temperature in the argon torch plasma was estimated to be 1.5 eV, thereby effectively exciting the molecules in the torch gas. Disintegration of nitrogen fluoride (NF3) indicates that a microwave plasma torch operating at a low pressure can efficiently generate an abundant amount of chemical radicals.


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