A new type of direct current, high-density, and low electron temperature reflex plasma source, obtained as a hybrid between a modified hollow-cathode discharge and a Penning ionization gauge discharge is presented. The plasma source was tested in argon, nitrogen, and oxygen over a range pressure of 1.0-10(-3) mbar, discharge currents 20-200 mA, and magnetic field 0-120 Gauss. Both external parameters, such as breakdown potential and the discharge voltage-current characteristic, and its internal parameters, like the electron energy distribution function, electron and ion densities, and electron temperature, were measured. Due to the enhanced hollow-cathode effect by the magnetic trapping of electrons, the density of the bulk plasma is as high as 10(18) m(-3), and the electron temperature is as low as a few tenths of electron volts. The 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 an electric field. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)