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Physics  2012 

Ion energy distribution functions behind the sheaths of magnetized and non magnetized radio frequency discharges

DOI: 10.1088/0022-3727/46/8/084016

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The effect of a magnetic field on the characteristics of capacitively coupled radio frequency discharges is investigated and found to be substantial. A one-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation shows that geometrically symmetric discharges can be asymmetrized by applying a spatially inhomogeneous magnetic field. This effect is similar to the recently discovered electrical asymmetry effect. Both effects act independently, they can work in the same direction or compensate each other. Also the ion energy distribution functions at the electrodes are strongly affected by the magnetic field, although only indirectly. The field influences not the dynamics of the sheath itself but rather its operating conditions, i.e., the ion flux through it and voltage drop across it. To support this interpretation, the particle-in-cell results are compared with the outcome of the recently proposed ensemble-in-spacetime algorithm. Although that scheme resolves only the sheath and neglects magnetization, it is able to reproduce the ion energy distribution functions with very good accuracy, regardless of whether the discharge is magnetized or not.


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