Recently a novel approach for achieving separate control of ion flux and energy in capacitively coupled radio frequency (CCRF) discharges based on the electrical asymmetry effect (EAE) was proposed (Heil et al 2008 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 41 165202). If the applied, temporally symmetric voltage waveform contains an even harmonic of the fundamental frequency, the sheaths in front of the two electrodes are necessarily asymmetric. A dc self-bias develops and is a function of the phase angle between the driving voltages. By tuning the phase, precise and convenient control of the ion energy can be achieved while the ion flux stays constant. This effect works even in geometrically symmetric discharges and the role of the two electrodes can be reversed electrically. In this work the EAE is verified using a particle in cell simulation of a geometrically symmetric dual-frequency CCRF discharge operated at 13.56 and 27.12 MHz. The self-bias is a nearly linear function of the phase angle. It is shown explicitly that the ion flux stays constant within 5%, while the self-bias reaches values of up to 80% of the applied voltage amplitude and the maximum ion energy is changed by a factor of 3 for a set of low pressure discharge conditions investigated. The EAE is investigated at different pressures and electrode gaps. As geometrically symmetric discharges can be made electrically asymmetric via the EAE, the plasma series resonance effect is observed for the first time in simulations of a geometrically symmetric discharge.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films