Control of spoke movement in DCMS plasmas

George, M. and Breilmann, W. and Held, J. and von Keudell, A.

Volume: 31 Pages:
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6595/ac830e
Published: 2022

Spokes appear as zones of increased ionisation in magnetron sputtering discharges. They rotate in front of a 2″ target at a natural frequency between a few 10 kHz and several 100 kHz and move in E → × B → or anti E → × B → direction depending on plasma power. Spokes are known to cause strong gradients in plasma density and potential and can, thus, increase the ion transport from target to substrate. Here, we explore the possibility to control spokes by applying a given frequency f to a set of control probes around the plasma to lock the spoke movement. The efficiency of this locking is analyzed by diagnostic probes and energy resolved mass spectrometry, which measure the integrated ion fluxes leaving the magnetic trap region. It was found that the spoke movement could be locked to the external control signal at frequency f around the natural spoke frequencies f 0. The additional control signal affects the ion flux twofold: (i) a 15% increase in ion flux towards the substrate and a 15% reduction in radial direction irrespective of control frequency is observed, which is explained by a change in plasma confinement since electric fluctuations at the separatrix are induced; (ii) the locking at f causes an increase in ion current in normal as well as in radial direction for f < f 0 and a reduction for f > f 0. This is explained by either longer or shorter residence times of ions in the electric fields caused by the spoke, or by an enhancement of these fields caused by the control. Using this spoke controlling technique an overall increase of ion flux towards the substrate of up to 30% was realized. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.

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