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Capacitively coupled plasma

A capacitively coupled plasma (CCP) is one of the most common types of industrial plasma sources. It essentially consists of two metal electrodes separated by a small distance, placed in a reactor. The gas pressure in the reactor can be lower than atmosphere or it can be atmospheric.

A typical CCP system is driven by a single radio-frequency (RF) power supply, typically at 13.56 MHz. One of two electrodes is connected to the power supply, and the other one is grounded. As this configuration is similar in principle to a capacitor in an electric circuit, the plasma formed in this configuration is called a capacitively coupled plasma.

When an electric field is generated between electrodes, electrons in the gas respond to the field and acquire energy. Ions, being heavier, acquire less energy. The high-energy electrons can ionize the gas directly or indirectly by collisions, producing secondary electrons. When the electric field is strong enough, it can lead to what is known as electron avalanche. After avalanche breakdown, the gas becomes electrically conductive due to abundant free electrons. Often it accompanies light emission from excited atoms or molecules in the gas. When visible light is produced, plasma generation can be indirectly observed even with bare eyes.

CCPs have wide applications in the semiconductor processing industry for thin film deposition.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Capacitively_coupled_plasma". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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