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The enhancement of planar radio frequency (RF) inductively coupled argon plasma is studied in the presence of an assistant anode and an external magnetic field at low pressure. The influence of the assistant anode and magnetic field on the efficiency of RF power absorption and plasma parameters is investigated. An external axial magnetic field is coupled into the plasma discharge region by an external electromagnetic coil outside the discharge chamber and an assistant cylindrical anode is inserted into the discharge chamber to enhance the plasma discharge. The plasma parameters and density profile are measured by an electrostatic Langmuir probe at different magnetic fields and anode voltages. The RF power absorption by the plasma can be effectively enhanced by the external magnetic field compared with the nonmagnetized discharge. The plasma density can be further increased by the application of a voltage to the assistant anode. Owing to the effective power absorption and enhanced plasma discharge by the assistant anode in a longitudinal magnetic field, the plasma density can be enhanced by more than a factor of two. Meanwhile, the nonuniformity of the plasma density is less than 10% and it can be achieved in a process chamber with a diameter of 600 mm. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.