This new research effort is to experimentally and theoretically investigate the physics of plasmas created by electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) microwave plasma sources. The results of this research will expand understanding of microwave generated plasmas and may enable the design of improved sources to be used for anisotropic, plasma reactive-ion etching or other types of plasma processing of surfaces. The project is divided into three stages. In the first stage, very detailed laboratory measurements will be made of a relatively small cavity ECR source with simple cylindrical boundary conditions. A three-axis, computer- controlled probe diagnostic will be used to generate three-dimensional images of the applied electromagnetic field within the plasma, the plasma density and Langmuir probe characteristics, and the plasma particle and energy effluent. In the second stage, a precise model of the interaction between the microwave fields and the plasma will be developed and then implemented numerically enabling a one- to-one comparison between measurements and experiment. The objective of the microwave-plasma model is to develop a steady-state and ultimately self- consistent description of (1) microwave propagation and absorption through the source cavity, and (2) plasma particle and power balance along a magnetic field-line. Finally, in the third stage, a modified ECR source cavity will be designed in collaboration with IBM in order to optimize particular plasma parameters of mutual interest. This new source cavity will be constructed and tested using the three- axis probe diagnostic, thereby, evaluating the success of the model as a design tool. Funds for the theoretical modeling portion of this project are being provided by IBM.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS)
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Lawrence S. Goldberg
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Columbia University
New York
United States
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