Spatial and temporal behavior of the plasma parameters in a pulsed magnetron discharge

J. T. Gudmundsson*, J. Alami, U. Helmersson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate the evolution of the electron, energy distribution and the plasma parameters in a high-density plasma in a pulsed magnetron discharge. The high-density plasma is created by applying a high power pulse (1-2.4 MW) with pulse lenght 100 μs and repetition frequency of 50 Hz to a planar magnetron discharge. The spatial and temporal behavior of the plasma parameters are investigated using a Langmuir probe; the electron energy distribution function, the electron density and the average electron energy. The electron energy distribution function during and shortly after the pulse can be represented by a bi-Maxwellian distribution indicating two energy groups of electrons. Furthermore, we report on the variation of the plasma parameters and electron energy distribution function with gas pressure in the pressure range 0.5-20 mtorr. We report electron density as high as 4 × 1018 m-3 at 10 mtorr and 9 cm below the target in a pulsed discharge with average power 300 W. We estimate the travelling speed of the electron density peak along the axis of the discharge. The travelling speed decreases with increased gas pressure from 4 × 105 cm/s at 0.5 mtorr to 0.87 × 105 cm s-1 at 10 mtorr. The effective electron temperature peaks at the same time independent of position in the discharge, which indicates a burst of high energy electrons at the end of the pulse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and the University of Iceland Research Fund. The company Chemfilt R & D is acknowledged for the use of the power supply.

Other keywords

  • High density plasma
  • Ionized metal plasma
  • Ionized sputtering
  • Pulsed magnetron sputtering
  • Time evolution


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