Active plasma resonance spectroscopy: a kinetic functional analytic description

Jens Oberrath, Ralf Peter Brinkmann

2014 Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 23 045006


The term active plasma resonance spectroscopy (APRS) denotes a class of related techniques which utilize, for diagnostic purposes, the natural ability of plasmas to resonate on or near the electron plasma frequency: a radio frequent signal (in the GHz range) is coupled into the plasma via an antenna or probe, the spectral response is recorded, and a mathematical model is used to determine plasma parameters such as the electron density or the electron temperature. This paper provides a kinetic description of APRS valid for all pressures and probe geometries. Subject of the description is the interaction of the probe with the plasma of its influence domain. In a first step, the kinetic free energy of that domain is established which has a definite time derivative with respect to the radio frequency (RF) power. In the absence of RF excitation, it assumes the properties of a Lyapunov functional; its minimum provides the stable equilibrium of the plasma–probe system. Equipped with a scalar product motivated by the second variation of the free energy, the set of all perturbations of the equilibrium forms a Hilbert space. The dynamics of the perturbations can be cast in an evolution equation in that space. The spectral response function of the plasma–probe system consists of matrix elements of the resolvent of the dynamical operator. An interpretation in terms of an equivalent electric circuit model is given and the residual broadening of the spectrum in the collisionless regime is explained.