Consistent simulation of capacitive radio-frequency discharges and external matching networks

Schmidt, F. and Mussenbrock, T. and Trieschmann, J.

Volume: 27 Pages:
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/aae429
Published: 2018

External matching networks are crucial and necessary for operating capacitively coupled plasmas in order to maximize the absorbed power. Experiments show that external circuits in general heavily interact with the plasma in a nonlinear way. This interaction has to be taken into account in order to be able to design suitable networks, e.g., for plasma processing systems. For a complete understanding of the underlying physics of this coupling, a nonlinear simulation approach which considers both the plasma and the circuit dynamics can provide useful insights. In this work, the coupling of an equivalent circuit plasma model and an external electric circuit composed of lumped elements is discussed. The plasma model itself is self-consistent in the sense that the plasma density and the electron temperature is calculated from the absorbed power based on a global plasma chemistry model. The approach encompasses all elements present in plasma systems, i.e., the discharge itself, the matching network, the power generator as well as stray loss elements. While the main result of this work is the conceptual approach itself, at the example of a single-frequency capacitively coupled discharge its applicability is demonstrated. It is shown that it provides an effective and efficient way to analyze and understand the nonlinear dynamics of plasma systems including the external circuit and, furthermore, may be applied to synthesize optimal matching networks. © 2018 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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