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A high-current pulsed cathodic vacuum arc plasma source

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4 Author(s)
Oates, T.W.H. ; School of Physics, University of Sydney, 2006, Australia ; Pigott, J. ; McKenzie, D.R. ; Bilek, M.M.M.

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Cathodic vacuum arcs (CVAs) are well established as a method for producing metal plasmas for thin film deposition and as a source of metal ions. Fundamental differences exist between direct current (dc) and pulsed CVAs. We present here results of our investigations into the design and construction of a high-current center-triggered pulsed CVA. Power supply design based on electrolytic capacitors is discussed and optimized based on obtaining the most effective utilization of the cathode material. Anode configuration is also discussed with respect to the optimization of the electron collection capability. Type I and II cathode spots are observed and discussed with respect to cathode surface contamination. An unfiltered deposition rate of 1.7 nm per pulse, at a distance of 100 mm from the source, has been demonstrated. Instantaneous plasma densities in excess of 1×1019m-3 are observed after magnetic filtering. Time averaged densities an order of magnitude greater than common dc arc densities have been demonstrated, limited by pulse repetition rate and filter efficiency. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.

Published in:

Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:74 ,  Issue: 11 )