Synchronising optical emission spectroscopy to spokes in magnetron sputtering discharges

Maaß, P.A. and Schulz-Von Der Gathen, V. and Von Keudell, A. and Held, J.

Volume: 30 Pages:
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/ac3210
Published: 2021

Spokes are patterns of increased light emission, observed to rotate in front of the targets of magnetron sputtering discharges. They move through the plasma at velocities of several km s-1 in or against the E × B direction of the discharge. The high velocity and their initial creation at arbitrary positions render measurements of spokes challenging. For more demanding plasma diagnostic techniques that require data acquisition over multiple discharge pulses, synchronisation to the spoke movement is necessary. In this publication, we present optical emission spectroscopy of spokes in both high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) as well as direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS) discharges, performed by triggering a camera on the spoke movement. Optical filters between plasma and camera allow us to isolate emission lines of metal and working gas neutrals and ions. Based on these optical measurements and previous probe studies, the dynamics of electrons drifting through spokes in both DCMS and HiPIMS is discussed. In HiPIMS, the much shorter mean free path for inelastic electron collisions enables strong ionisation inside the spoke, causing a sudden variation in electron density which leads to the distinct spoke shape. In contrast, the spoke shape for DCMS discharges seems to rather be indicative of electron energy variations. © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.

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