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A one-dimensional particle-in-cell–Monte Carlo (PIC–MC) model was developed for a capacitively coupled rf discharge in a mixture of CH4 and H2. The electron behavior is kinetically simulated by solving Newton’s equations and treating the electron collisions with the Monte Carlo algorithm, whereas the behavior of the ions and radicals is treated by a set of continuity equations. The distinctive feature of this model is its self-consistency, i.e., the motion of the electrons is considered in the real electric field calculated from the Poisson equation, and not in the time-averaged electric field. The PIC–MC results were compared with the data calculated by means of a pure fluid model. In both models, exactly the same type of species, reactions, and cross sections are used. The results of both models, such as the electron energy distribution function, the average electron energy, and the densities of the various plasma species, are compared at a gas pressure of 0.14 Torr and a discharge frequency of 13.56 MHz, for the power ranging from 0.5 to 25 W. The nonstationary and nonlocal features of the electron energy distribution function are shown in the PIC–MC calculations. The effect of accumulation of low-energy electrons in the center of the discharge at higher input power P=25 W is observed in the PIC–MC model, in contrast with the fluid model. The mechanisms causing the accumulation of low-energy electrons, and the processes defining the stationary state of the discharge are analyzed. The applicability of the fluid model for the calculation of the density of different hydrocarbon radicals is discussed. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.
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