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Particle-in-cell Monte Carlo analysis of propagating plasma waves in DC magnetron discharges

: Siemers, M.; Pflug, A.; Szyszka, B.

Society of Vacuum Coaters -SVC-, Albuquerque/NM:
Society of Vacuum Coaters. 52nd Annual Technical Conference 2009. Proceedings : May 9-14, 2009, Santa Clara, CA USA
Albuquerque: SVC, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-878068-29-3
Society of Vacuum Coaters (Annual Technical Conference) <52, 2009, Santa Clara/Calif.>
Fraunhofer IST ()

A parallel computing plasma simulation environment has been implemented at Fraunhofer IST based on the article-in-Cell Monte Carlo (PIC-MC) hybrid approach. Using massive parallel processing 3d3v simulations of magnetron discharges could be performed within reasonable time. Comparisons with depth profile measurements of eroded magnetron targets and high speed photography of dual magnetron discharges have shown the reliability of the simulation results.
Published experimental observations tell about periodic plasma density fluctuations and plasma waves, respectively in a DC magnetron discharge. One of these experimental setups has been mapped into the PIC-MC simulation environment. We performed 3d3v simulations with varying parameters to identify the cause for such a wave phenomenon. At a certain parameter set we observed a single plasma density aggregation propagating laterally around the target racetrack. This effect was reproducible and independent from numerical resolution of the simulation, i.e., cell spacing, time step width and particle weighting.
The underlying mechanism for the propagating plasma density aggregation has been identified and is described in this paper. Furthermore we performed a series of 3d3v simulations to analyze the dependency of the propagation velocity from input power and gas pressure.