Plasmoids for etching and deposition

Ramasamy Pothiraja, Nikita Bibinov, Peter Awakowicz


In this manuscript we show fascinating properties of plasmoids, which are known to be self-sustained plasma entities, and can exist without being in contact with any power supply. Plasmoids are produced in a filamentary discharge in a Ar/CH4 mixture with a high production rate of about 10(5) s(-1). It is observed that plasmoids etch the solid amorphous hydrocarbon film with high efficiency. Energy density of the plasmoid, which is estimated on the basis of glowing area of plasmoids in the photographic image and sublimation enthalpy of the etched hydrocarbon film, amounts to about 90 J m(-3). This value is much lower than the energy density of observed ball lightning (natural plasmoid). A very surprising property is an attraction between plasmoids, and the formation of plasmoid-groups. Because of this attractive force, carbon material, which is collected in plasmoids by etching of the hydrocarbon film or by propagation through a methane/argon gas mixture, is compressed into crystals.