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Characterization of plasma chemistry and ion energy in cathodic arc plasma from Ti-Si cathodes of different compositions

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6 Author(s)
Eriksson, A.O. ; Thin Film Physics Division, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden ; Zhirkov, I. ; Dahlqvist, M. ; Jensen, J.
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Arc plasma from Ti-Si compound cathodes with up to 25 at. % Si was characterized in a DC arc system with respect to chemistry and charge-state-resolved ion energy. The plasma ion composition showed a lower Si content, diverging up to 12 at. % compared to the cathode composition, yet concurrently deposited films were in accordance with the cathode stoichiometry. Significant contribution to film growth from neutrals is inferred besides ions, since the contribution from macroparticles, estimated by scanning electron microscopy, cannot alone account for the compositional difference between cathode, plasma, and film. The average ion charge states for Ti and Si were higher than reference data for elemental cathodes. This result is likely related to TiSix phases of higher cohesive energies in the compound cathodes and higher effective electron temperature in plasma formation. The ion energy distributions extended up to ∼200 and ∼130 eV for Ti and Si, respectively, with corresponding average energies of ∼60 and ∼30 eV. These averages were, however, not dependent on Si content in the cathode, except for 25 at. % Si where the average energies were increased up to 72 eV for Ti and 47 eV for Si.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:113 ,  Issue: 16 )

Date of Publication:

Apr 2013

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