Kinetic simulation of the sheath dynamics in the intermediate radio frequency regime

Mohammed Shihab, Abd Elfattah Elgendy, I Korolov, A Derzsi, Julian Schulze, Denis Eremin, Thomas Mussenbrock, Zoltan Donko, Ralf Peter Brinkmann

2013 Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 22 055013


The dynamics of temporally modulated plasma boundary sheaths is studied in the intermediate radio frequency regime where the applied radio frequency and the ion plasma frequency (or the reciprocal of the ion transit time) are comparable. Two fully kinetic simulation algorithms are employed and their results are compared. The first is a realization of the well-known particle-in-cell technique with Monte Carlo collisions and simulates the entire discharge, a planar radio frequency capacitively coupled plasma with an additional ionization source. The second code is based on the recently published scheme Ensemble-in-Spacetime (EST); it resolves only the sheath and requires the time-resolved voltage across and the ion flux into the sheath as input. Ion inertia causes a temporal asymmetry (hysteresis) of the charge–voltage relation; other ion transit time effects are also found. The two algorithms are in good agreement, both with respect to the spatial and temporal dynamics of the sheath and with respect to the ion energy distributions at the electrodes. It is concluded that the EST scheme may serve as an efficient post-processor for fluid or global simulations and for measurements: it can rapidly and accurately calculate ion distribution functions even when no genuine kinetic information is available.