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A global electromagnetic model of an inductively coupled plasma sustained by an internal oscillating current sheet in a cylindrical metal vessel is developed. The electromagnetic field structure, profiles of the rf power transferred to the plasma electrons, electron/ion number density, and working points of the discharge are studied, by invoking particle and power balance. It is revealed that the internal rf current with spatially invariable phase significantly improves the radial uniformity of the electromagnetic fields and the power density in the chamber as compared with conventional plasma sources with external flat spiral inductive coils. This configuration offers the possibility of controlling the rf power deposition in the azimuthal direction. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.