Transient-mode multipactor discharge

Graves, T. P.; Spektor, R.; Stout, P.; Axley, A.
August 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Aug2009, Vol. 16 Issue 8, p083502
Academic Journal
Multipactor discharge is a resonant condition in which electrons impact material surfaces in phase with an alternating rf or microwave electric field. A growing and/or sustained discharge requires the electrode secondary electron coefficient, δ(Ee), to be greater than unity at the impacting electron energy (Ee). E1, the minimum energy for δ=1, is highly dependent on electrode surface preparation and conditioning, and contaminated surfaces will generally experience a lower E1 than the same clean or “conditioned” surface. A transient mode of multipactor discharge can exist when the multipactor electron energy distribution occurs near E1. The transient nature of such a discharge is shown to result from dynamic changes in E1 due to multipactor conditioning and surface contamination. Experimental data depict transient-mode multipactor (TMM) discharges at a range of rf voltages and chamber pressures for both copper and aluminum electrodes. TMM was detected using a biased current probe, and these events were undetectable by third harmonic diagnostics at chamber pressures below 1×10-3 torr. Discharge parameters such as charge density, period, and duty cycle are shown to be related to both the rf voltage and the chamber pressure. Monte Carlo simulation results support the experimental findings, showing an exponential decrease in the resonant electron population with increasing E1.


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