Stochastic heating in asymmetric capacitively coupled RF discharges

Julian Schulze, B G Heil, D Luggenhoelscher, Ralf Peter Brinkmann, Uwe Czarnetzki

Journal of Physics D - Applied Physics 41 185206 (2008)


Electron dynamics in a strongly asymmetric capacitively coupled radio-frequency (RF) discharge at low pressures is investigated by a combination of various diagnostics, analytical models and simulations. Electric fields in the sheath are measured phase and space resolved using fluorescence dip spectroscopy in krypton. The results are compared with a fluid sheath model. Experimentally obtained input parameters are used for the model. The excitation caused by beam-like highly energetic electrons is measured by phase resolved optical emission spectroscopy (PROES) and compared with the results of a hybrid Monte Carlo model based on the electric field resulting from the sheath model. The plasma itself is characterized by Langmuir probe measurements in terms of electron density, electron mean energy and electron energy distribution function (EEDF). The RF voltage and the current to the chamber wall are measured in parallel. At low pressures the plasma series resonance (PSR) effect is observed. It leads to high frequency oscillations of the current (non-sinusoidal RF current waveforms) and, consequently, to a faster sheath expansion. The measured current is compared with an analytical PSR model. Another analytical model using experimentally obtained input parameters determines the influence of beams of highly energetic electrons on the time averaged isotropic EEDF as measured by Langmuir probes. The main result is the observation of beams of highly energetic electrons during the sheath expansion phase, that are enhanced by the PSR effect. The paper shows that the nature of stochastic heating is closely related to electron beams and the PSR effect.