Dynamics and Electronegativity of Oxygen RF Plasmas



The capacitively coupled radio frequency plasma at 13.56 MHz in oxygen was systematically studied by 160 GHz Gaussian beam microwave interferometry at high temporal resolution (200 ns) and simultaneous laser photodetachment for electron and negative ion density analysis. Additionally, spatio-temporally resolved electric probe measurements were performed for comparison with microwave interferometry. A high and low electronegative operation mode was found in the asymmetric rf discharge. In the high electronegative mode it was shown the significant role of the metastable excited oxygen molecules in electron attachment and detachment processes. In particular, a temporary electron density increase is observed in the early afterglow of a pulsed rf plasma. The transition between both modes is driven by the rf power and the self-bias voltage, respectively. In connection with the phase resolved optical emission spectroscopy and the study of the electron heating mechanisms the transition into the low electronegative mode at higher rf power shows a relation to the alpha to gamma mode transition. Furthermore, electron density fluctuations are measured over a wide field of processing parameters, e.g. due to the attachment-induced ionization instability. PIC-MCC simulation and fluid model calculation of a symmetric oxygen rf discharge confirm the different electron heating mechanisms and the dominance of negative atomic oxygen ions (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)