Investigation of the Erosion Characteristics of Cathodes with Poor Conductivity in Cathodic Vacuum Arc Plasma Sources

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)22_Publication in policy or professional journal

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  • R. K Y Fu
  • D. L. Tang
  • P. Chen
  • L. R. Shen
  • X. B. Tian


Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationIEEE International Conference on Plasma Science
Publication statusPublished - 2003


Title2003 IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science
PlaceKorea, Republic of
Period2 - 5 June 2003


Metal vacuum arc discharge is an effective technique for thin film deposition or ion implantation. Cathode materials such as Fe, Al, Ti, Cu and W are commonly used to produce plasmas. The vacuum arc is ignited by a high-voltage trigger near the end of the cathode and the main arc builds up between the cathode and anode. Non-uniform burning has been observed on the cathode surface, and it is particularly severe for materials with low conductivity such as Si and Ge. As an arc source, non-irregular cathode erosion can cause unintentional increase of the arc voltage and critically impact the arc ignition stability. In this work, the surface erosion of poorly conducting cathode materials is investigated using a variety of operation parameters and cathode to anode geometries. Our results show that adjusting the arc pulse duration and the configuration of the extraction hole of the anode can optimize surface erosion and stabilize the arc performance.