The characterization of a direct current, low-pressure, and high-density reflex discharge plasma source operating in argon and in nitrogen, over a range of pressures 1.0-10(-2) mbar, discharge currents 20-200 mA, and magnetic fields 0-120 G, and its parametric characterization is presented. Both external parameters, such as the breakdown potential and the discharge voltage-current characteristic, and internal parameters, like the charge carrier's temperature and density, plasma potential, floating potential, and electron energy distribution function, were measured. The electron energy distribution functions are bi-Maxwellian, but some structure is observed in these functions in nitrogen plasmas. There is experimental evidence for the existence of three groups of electrons within this reflex discharge plasma. Due to the enhanced hollow cathode effect by the magnetic trapping of electrons, the density of the cold group of electrons is as high as 10(18) m(-3), and the temperature is as low as a few tenths of an electron volt. The bulk plasma density scales with the dissipated power. Another important feature of this reflex plasma source is its high degree of uniformity, while the discharge bulk region is free of electric field. (C) 2002 American Institute of Physics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)