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Inductively coupled plasma

  An inductively coupled plasma (ICP) is a type of plasma source in which the energy is supplied by electrical currents which are produced by electromagnetic induction, that is, by time-varying magnetic fields.[1]



There are two types of ICP geometries: planar and cylindrical. In planar geometry, the electrode is a coil of flat metal wound like a spiral. In cylindrical geometry, it is like a helical spring.

When a time-varying electric current is passed through the coil, it creates a time varying magnetic field around it, which in turn induces azimuthal electric currents in the rarefied gas, leading to break down and formation of a plasma. Argon is one example of a commonly used rarefied gas.

Plasma temperatures can range between 6 000 K and 10 000 K, comparable to the surface of the sun.

ICP discharges are of relatively high electron density, on the order of 1015 cm-3.

As a result, ICP discharges have wide applications where a high density plasma is necessary.

Another benefit of ICP discharges is that they are relatively free of contamination because the electrodes are completely outside the reaction chamber. In a capacitively coupled plasma (CCP), in contrast, the electrodes are often placed inside the reactor and are thus exposed to the plasma and subsequent reactive chemical species.


See also

  • Pulsed inductive thruster


  1. ^ A. Montaser and D. W. Golightly, eds. Inductively Coupled Plasmas in Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, VCH Publishers, Inc., New York, 1992.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Inductively_coupled_plasma". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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