Electric Field Reversals in the sheath region of capacitively coupled radio frequency discharges at different pressures

Julian Schulze, Zoltán Donkó, Brian George Heil, Dirk Luggenhölscher, Thomas Mussenbrock, Ralf Peter Brinkmann, Uwe Czarnetzki

J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 41, 105214 (2008)


Electric field reversals in single and dual-frequency capacitively coupled radio frequency discharges are investigated in the collisionless (?1 Pa) and the collisonal (65 Pa) regimes. Phase resolved optical emission spectroscopy is used to measure the excitation of the neutral background gas caused by the field reversal during sheath collapse. The collisionless regime is investigated experimentally in asymmetric neon and hydrogen single frequency discharges operated at 13.56 MHz in a GEC reference cell. The collisional regime is investigated experimentally in a symmetric industrial dual-frequency discharge operated at 1.937 and 27.118 MHz. The resulting spatio-temporal excitation profiles are compared with the results of a fluid sheath model in the single frequency case and a particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo simulation in the dual-frequency case. The results show that field reversals occur in both regimes. An analytical model gives an insight into the mechanisms causing the reversal of the electric field. In the dual-frequency case a qualitative comparison between the electric fields resulting from the PIC simulation and from the analytical model is performed. The field reversal seems to be caused by different mechanisms in the respective regimes. In the collisionless case it is caused by electron inertia, whereas in the collisional regime it is caused by a combination of the low mobility of electrons due to collisions and electron inertia. Finally, the field reversal during the sheath collapse seems to be a general source for energy gain of electrons in both single and dual-frequency discharges.


Tags: Collisionless and collision-dominated sheath, Excitaion of the neutral background gas, Plasma Physics, Reaversal of the electric field, rf-discharge