Journal article Open Access

Discharge phenomena of an atmospheric pressure radio-frequency capacitive plasma source

Park, Jaeyoung; Henins, I.; Herrmann, H. W.; Selwyn, G. S.; Hicks, R. F.

Discharge phenomena of a nonthermal atmospheric pressure plasma source have been studied. An atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) operates using rf power and produces a stable homogeneous discharge at atmospheric pressure. After breakdown, the APPJ operation is divided into two regimes, a "normal" operating mode when the discharge is stable and homogeneous, and a "failure" mode when the discharge converts into a filamentary arc. Current and voltage (I–V) characteristics and spatially resolved emission intensity profiles have been measured during the normal operating mode. These measurements show that the APPJ produces an alpha (α) mode rf capacitive discharge. Based upon a dimensional analysis using the observed I–V characteristics, a rough estimate is made for plasma density of 3×1011 cm−3 and an electron temperature of 2 eV. In addition, the gas temperature of 120 °C has been spectroscopically measured inside the discharge. These plasma parameters indicate that the APPJ shows promise for various materials applications as it can produce substantial amounts of reactive species and avoid thermal damages, while having the advantage of atmospheric pressure operation.

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