Using rf impedance probe measurements to determine plasma potential and the electron energy distribution

Walker, D. N.; Fernsler, R. F.; Blackwell, D. D.; Amatucci, W. E.
November 2010
Physics of Plasmas;Nov2010, Vol. 17 Issue 11, p113503
Academic Journal
Earlier work has demonstrated the usefulness of a network analyzer in plasma diagnostics using spherical probes in the thin sheath limit. The rf signal applied to the probe by the network analyzer is small in magnitude compared to probe bias voltages, and the instrument returns both real and imaginary parts of the complex plasma impedance as a function of frequency for given bias voltages. This information can be used to determine sheath resistance, sheath density profiles, and a technique for measuring electron temperature. The present work outlines a method for finding plasma potential and the electron energy distribution within a limited energy range. The results are compared to those using conventional Langmuir probe techniques. The rf method has general application to diverse areas of plasma investigations when the plasma is uniform and probe dimensions are much less than the size of the plasma. These applications include laboratory and space environments.


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