Field emission and lifetime of microcavity plasma

2009-09-24T12:41:53Z (GMT) by G.J. Kim Felipe Iza Jae Koo Lee
Microplasmas with cylindrical hollow cathode have been studied by means of two-dimensional particle-in-cell/Monte-Carlo collision (PIC/MCC) simulations. For a given input power, the onset of field emission from the cathode surface caused by the strong electric field generated in these discharges leads to a reduction of the discharge voltage and an increase in plasma density. The plasma density profile can be strongly influenced by localized enhancements of the electric field, which in turn will affect the erosion profile of the cathode. The cathode erosion profile is predicted in this work by combining the ion kinetic information obtained from the PIC/MCC simulation with the sputtering yield computed using SRIM [J. F. Ziegler, J. P. Biersack, and M. D. Ziegler, SRIM: The Stopping and Range of Ions in Matter (Lulu, Chester, 2008)]. The entrance of the cathode and the center region are the areas most susceptible to ion-induced damage. The lifetime of the device, however, can be extended by operating the device at high pressure and by reducing the operating voltage by means of field emission and/or additional electron emitting processes from the cathode