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The plasma characteristics of a new arc mode on carbon referred to as the ‘‘stationary cathodic arc’’ are reported. Particularly, optical emission spectroscopy, probe and ion energy distribution measurements are used to compare the properties of the stationary arc with the normal ‘‘random cathodic arc’’ on carbon. The measurements revealed that the plasma properties of both arc modes are similar. In addition, we have correlated the plasma characteristics to the film properties. Carbon films deposited using the stationary arc were found to have a surface particle density equivalent to those deposited using the filtered cathodic vacuum arc. The macro‐particle free films were found to be highly tetrahedral and compressively stressed. Both the sp3 fraction and stress values were strongly dependent on the ion energy with maximum values of 85% and 9.4 GPa, respectively, occurring at ≊50 eV. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.
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