Capacitive radio frequency (RF) discharge plasmas have been serving hi-tech industry (e.g. chip and solar cell manufacturing, realization of biocompatible surfaces) for several years. Nonetheless, their complex modes of operation are not fully understood and represent topics of high interest. The understanding of these phenomena is aided by modern diagnostic techniques and computer simulations. From the industrial point of view the control of ion properties is of particular interest; possibilities of independent control of the ion flux and the ion energy have been utilized via excitation of the discharges with multiple frequencies. 'Classical' dual-frequency (DF) discharges (where two significantly different driving frequencies are used), as well as discharges driven by a base frequency and its higher harmonic(s) have been analyzed thoroughly. It has been recognized that the second solution results in an electrically induced asymmetry (electrical asymmetry effect), which provides the basis for the control of the mean ion energy. This paper reviews recent advances on studies of the different electron heating mechanisms, on the possibilities of the separate control of ion energy and ion flux in DF discharges, on the effects of secondary electrons, as well as on the non-linear behavior (self-generated resonant current oscillations) of capacitive RF plasmas. The work is based on a synergistic approach of theoretical modeling, experiments and kinetic simulations based on the particle-in-cell approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Condensed Matter Physics