Publication details

Simultaneous electrical and optical study of spoke rotation, merging and splitting in HiPIMS plasma



Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Plasma physics
Keywords magnetron sputtering; HiPIMS; spokes; spoke model
Description To gain more information on the temporal and spatial behaviour of self-organized spoke structures in HiPIMS plasmas, a correlation between the broadband optical image of an individual spoke (taken over 200 ns) and the current it delivers to the target has been made for a range of magnetron operating conditions. As a spoke passes over a set of embedded probes in the niobium cathode target, a distinct modulation in the local current density is observed, (typically up to twice the average value), matching very well the radially integrated optical emission intensities (obtained remotely with an ICCD camera). The dual diagnostic system allows the merging and splitting of a set of spokes to be studied as they rotate. It is observed that in the merger of two spokes, the trailing spoke maintains its velocity while the leading spoke either decreases its velocity or increases its azimuthal length. In the spoke splitting process, the total charge collected by an embedded probe is conserved. A simple phenomenological model is developed that relates the spoke mode number m to the spoke dimensions, spoke velocity and gas atom velocity. The results are discussed in the context of the observations of spoke dynamics made by Hecimovic et al (2015 Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 24 045005).
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