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Electron dynamics in radio frequency magnetron sputtering argon discharges with a dielectric target

: Zheng, B.; Fu, Y.; Wang, K.; Schuelke, T.; Fan, Q.H.


Plasma sources science & technology 30 (2021), Nr.3, Art. 035019, 15 S.
ISSN: 0963-0252 (Print)
ISSN: 1361-6595 (Online)
Fraunhofer CCD ()

We demonstrate a self-consistent and complete description of electron dynamics in a typical electropositive radio frequency magnetron sputtering (RFMS) argon discharge with a dielectric target. The electron dynamics, including the electron power absorption dynamics in one radio frequency (RF) period, is studied via a fully kinetic 2d3v particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo collision (PIC/MCC) electrostatic simulation. The interplay between the fundamental plasma parameters is analyzed through their spatiotemporal dynamics. Due to the influence of magnetic trap on the electron transport, a spatially dependent charging that perturbs the electric potential is observed on the dielectric target surface, resulting in a spatially dependent ion energy distribution along the target surface. The E Ã B drift-to-discharge current ratio is in approximate agreement with Bohm diffusion. The electron power absorption can be primarily decoupled into the positive Ohmic power absorption in the bulk plasma region and the negative pressure-induced power absorption near the target surface. Ohmic power absorption is the dominant electron power absorption mechanism, mostly contributed by the azimuthal electron current. The power absorption due to electron inertial effects is negligible on time-average. Both the maximum power absorption and dissipation of electrons appear in the bulk plasma region during the second half of the RF period, implying a strong electron trapping in magnetron discharges. The contribution of secondary electrons is negligible under typical RFMS discharge conditions.