Electron/ion energy loss to discharge walls revised: A case study in low-temperature, thermally nonequilibrium plasmas

  • Ren Y
  • Ostrikov K
  • Xu S
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Reliable calculations of the electron/ion energy losses in low-pressure thermally nonequilibrium low-temperature plasmas are indispensable for predictive modeling related to numerous applications of such discharges. The commonly used simplified approaches to calculation of electron/ion energy losses to the chamber walls use a number of simplifying assumptions that often do not account for the details of the prevailing electron energy distribution function (EEDF) and overestimate the contributions of the electron losses to the walls. By direct measurements of the EEDF and careful calculation of contributions of the plasma electrons in low-pressure inductively coupled plasmas, it is shown that the actual losses of kinetic energy of the electrons and ions strongly depend on the EEDF. It is revealed that the overestimates of the total electron/ion energy losses to the walls caused by improper assumptions about the prevailing EEDF and about the ability of the electrons to pass through the repulsive potential of the wall may lead to significant overestimates that are typically in the range between 9 and 32%. These results are particularly important for the development of power-saving strategies for operation of low-temperature, low-pressure gas discharges in diverse applications that require reasonably low power densities. (C) 2008 American Institute of Physics.

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  • Y. P. Ren

  • K. Ostrikov

  • S. Xu

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