Observation of collisionless heating of low energy electrons in low pressure inductively coupled argon plasmas

Min-Hyong Lee; Hyo-Chang Lee; Chin-Wook Chung
December 2008
Applied Physics Letters;12/8/2008, Vol. 93 Issue 23, p231503
Academic Journal
Collisionless heating of low energy electrons was observed in low pressure argon rf-biased inductively coupled plasmas (ICPs) by measurement of the electron energy distribution function (EEDF). When only capacitive power (bias) was supplied, the EEDF in the discharge was a bi-Maxwellian distribution with two electron groups. It was found that the low energy electrons were heated up significantly even with a little inductive power (<20 W) even when the discharge was in E mode. Due to the low gas pressure and low temperature of low energy electrons (close to the energy of the Ramsauer minimum), the collisional heating of low energy electrons appears to be negligible. Therefore, this effective heating of the low energy electrons showed a direct experimental evidence of the collisionless heating by inductive field. The significant heating of low energy electrons in E mode indicates that collisionless heating in the skin layer is an important electron heating mechanism of low pressure ICP even when the discharge is in E mode.


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