Analytic model of the energy distribution function for highly energetic electrons in magnetron plasmas

Sara Gallian, Jan Trieschmann, Thomas Mussenbrock, Ralf Peter Brinkmann, W N G Hitchon

J. Appl. Phys. 117, 023305 (2015);


This paper analyzes a situation which is common for magnetized technical plasmas such as dc magnetron discharges and high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) systems, where secondary electrons enter the plasma after being accelerated in the cathode fall and encounter a nearly uniform bulk. An analytic calculation of the distribution function of hot electrons is presented; these are described as an initially monoenergetic beam that slows down by Coulomb collisions with a Maxwellian distribution of bulk (cold) electrons, and by inelastic collisions with neutrals. Although this analytical solution is based on a steady-state assumption, a comparison of the characteristic time-scales suggests that it may be applicable to a variety of practical time-dependent discharges, and it may be used to introduce kinetic effects into models based on the hypothesis of Maxwellian electrons. The results are verified for parameters appropriate to HiPIMS discharges, by means of time-dependent and fully kinetic numerical calculations.

[journal web site] []

Tags: dcMS, eedf, HiPIMS