Improved plasma uniformity in a discharge system with electron injection

Vizir, A. V.; Tyunkov, A. V.; Shandrikov, M. V.
February 2009
Review of Scientific Instruments;Feb2009, Vol. 80 Issue 2, pN.PAG
Academic Journal
We present the results of experiments leading to improvement in bulk plasma uniformity of a constricted-arc discharge system with electron injection. The steady-state discharge was in argon, at a gas pressure of 0.5 mTorr, and operated with a main discharge voltage between 20 and 100 V and current between 3 and 15 A. The radial plasma distribution was measured with a movable Langmuir probe. We find that geometric modification of the intermediate electrode exit aperture and the main discharge cathode add little to the plasma uniformity. Improved bulk plasma uniformity is observed when a special distributing grid electrode is used and the main discharge voltage is less than 20–30 V. The application of a weakly divergent magnetic field in the region of the intermediate electrode exit aperture decreases the plasma nonuniformity from 20% to 14% over a radial distance of 30 cm. The plasma uniformity was further improved by compensating the magnetic self-field of the injected electron beam by a reverse magnetic field produced with a special electrode compensator. It is shown that an increase in discharge current causes a proportional increase in back current in the distributing electrode. The approach allows a decrease in plasma nonuniformity from 20% to 13% over a radial distance of 30 cm.


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