Characterization of stationary and pulsed inductively coupled RF discharges for plasma sterilization

Timo Gans, M. Osiac, Deborah O'Connell, V.A. Kadetov, U. Czarnetzki, T. Schwarz-Selinger, H. Halfmann, P. Awakowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Sterilization of bio-medical materials using radio frequency (RF) excited inductively coupled plasmas (ICPs) has been investigated. A double ICP has been developed and studied for homogenous treatment of three-dimensional objects. Sterilization is achieved through a combination of ultraviolet light, ion bombardment and radical treatment. For temperature sensitive materials, the process temperature is a crucial parameter. Pulsing of the plasma reduces the time average heat strain and also provides additional control of the various sterilization mechanisms. Certain aspects of pulsed plasmas are, however, not yet fully understood. Phase resolved optical emission spectroscopy and time resolved ion energy analysis illustrate that a pulsed ICP ignites capacitively before reaching a stable inductive mode. Time resolved investigations of the post-discharge, after switching off the RF power, show that the plasma boundary sheath in front of a substrate does not fully collapse for the case of hydrogen discharges. This is explained by electron heating through super-elastic collisions with vibrationally excited hydrogen molecules.
Original languageEnglish
Article number026
Pages (from-to)A353-A360
Number of pages8
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number5 A
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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