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Journal of Physics and Astronomy Research

Vol. 3(1), pp. 074-078, September, 2017., ISSN: XXXX-XXXX

Research Article

Effect of Pressure and Discharge Voltage on Plasma

Parameters in Air seeded Arc-plasma
*Vijay Kumar Jha1, Lekha Nath Mishra2 and Bijoyendra Narayan3
1Department of Physics, Amrit Campus, Thamel, Kathmandu(Tribhuvan University), Nepal
2Department of Physics, Patan Campus, Patandhoka, Lalitpur (Tribhuvan University), Nepal
3Dr. S.K. Sinha Women's College, Motihari (B.R.A.Bihar University, Muzaffarpur), India

Plasma parameters like electron temperature (Te), electron density (ne), Debye length (D) and
plasma frequency (fp) were measured using Langmuir probes in air seeded arc-plasma at low
pressure range of 0.10 mbar to 0.16 mbar. Double slope method, Dote method and Interception
method were used to calculate the electron temperature (Te) and mean value of electron
temperatures obtained from these three methods was used to calculate the electron density,
Debye length and plasma frequency. To investigate the effect of pressure and discharge voltage
on the plasma parameters at low voltage and low pressure is the main objective of the study. It
was observed that Te, ne and fp gradually increased respectively but D decreased on increasing
the voltage from 500 V to 600 V. It was also observed that on increasing the pressure there was
decrease in Te and D but increase in ne and fe.

Key Words: Langmuir probes, electron temperature, electron density, Debye length, plasma frequency, plasma densities,
Dote method, Bohm velocity, plasma diagnostic, plasma processing.


The DC arc discharges have been extensively used in thin other techniques give information averaged over a large
film deposition, sputtering, etching, surface modification of volume of plasma (Chen, 1965; Mijovic et al., 2008). Also,
the materials and many other kinds of plasma processing the simplicity of the used equipment allows us to receive
(Brockhaus et al., 1994; Bogaerts Neyts et al., 2002; Chiad results quickly. In this piece of study we have used three
et al., 2009). For understanding, developing and different methods such as Double slope, Dote method and
maintaining these processes it is interesting to determine Intercept method to measure the electron temperature.
the basic plasma parameters and their dependence on The average value of electron temperature obtained from
discharge voltage and operating pressure. The widely these three methods respectively is used to evaluate the
used method for the plasma diagnostic is the Langmuir electron density, Debye length and plasma frequency.
probe method. Double probe method (Johnson and Malter,
1950; Pilling et al., 2006) for the plasma characterization
over a wide range of plasma densities is one of the suitable
methods to measure plasma parameters. In this method
electron current is completely controlled by the ion
saturation current so that probe draws very little amount of
current without disturbing the plasma condition. Other *Corresponding author: Vijay Kumar Jha, Department of
importance of the double probe method is that it measures Physics, Amrit Campus, Thamel, Kathmandu (Tribhuvan
local parameters of studied plasma whereas almost all University), Nepal. Email:

Effect of Pressure and Discharge Voltage on Plasma Parameters in Air seeded Arc-plasma
Jha et al. 075

Figure 1: Low temperature plasma-reactor Figure 2: Measurement of electron temperature

with Langmuir double probe. from double slope method


Te = . . . (2)
4 dV Vd = constant 0.82S
d i
The low temperature plasma reactor for the low pressure d
arc discharge in air is shown in Figure 1 in which air
Where, d i V = constant= slope of the current voltage
pressure is changed from 0.10 mbar to 0.16 mbar and the d Vd d
voltage is changed from 500 V to 600V. Two identical characteristic at the point of inflection [Figure 3],
cylindrical probes are inserted in the discharge region and S = slope at the positive ion saturation current, and Ipo =
they are powered by the digital voltage sweep. Data are total ion saturation current
taken from Tektronix TDS oscilloscope and it is transferred Similarly, in the Intercept method the electron temperature
to the computer through data storage device for the further can be obtained [Figure 4] by using following
analysis. Specification of the double probe for its operation Relation (Johnson et al., 1950).
is listed in Table1. 2 1
Vd Vd
Te = . . . (3)
Table 1: Specifications for the Double Probe Method ln D 1

S. N. Specification ip ip S ip S ip
Where F = and D = Where F = 1 and D = 1
1 Probe material: Tungsten 1 1
ie ie ie ie
2 Length of the probe: 6 mm 2 2 2 2
3 Diameter of the probe: 0.5mm 2 1
In our experiment we have chosen Vd and Vd as around
4 Diameter of the electrode: 10 mm
5 Distance between two electrodes: 8 cm
2V and 5V respectively
6 Maximum voltage across electrodes: 1kV The electron density is measured and electron
7 Biased voltage range: 33V to + 33V temperature using the following equation:
8 Current sensing resistor: 10 k KTe
9 Maximum probe current: 3.5 mA Te = 0.6 e A ne Mi . . . (4)
The factor 0.6 is due to the reduction of the ion density in
In the double slope method [Figure 2] one tangent is drawn
the pre-sheath region over which the ions are accelerated
at the point of inflection and the another tangent in the ion
up to the Bohm velocity (Chung et al., 2006; Merlino,
saturation current region. The ordinate of the intercept
gives the ion saturation current. The electron temperature
(Te) can be obtained by using the relation (Konuma, 1992). Similarly, Debye length and the plasma frequency can be
Isat obtained by using following relations respectively
Te =
2 dV Vd = constant
dI e0 KTe
d D= 2 . . . (5)
. . . (1) And
1 e ne
In Dote method, electron temperature can be obtained by fe = . . . (6)
using following relation [Dote (1968)]. 2 e0me

Effect of Pressure and Discharge Voltage on Plasma Parameters in Air seeded Arc-plasma
J. Phys. Astron. Res. 076

Figure 3: Schematic diagram of the double Probe characteristics Figure 4: Schematic diagram of the double Probe characteristics

Figure 5: Variation in electron temperature(Te) with V Figure 6: Variation in electron density(ne) with V

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION , where E is the electric field strength, e is the mean free
path of the electrons, V is the discharge voltage and d is
The electron temperature is calculated using equations the distance between electrodes. As the discharge
(1), (2) and (3) respectively in Double probe method, Dote pressure inside the discharge chamber increases, electron
method and Intercept method. The graphical collision frequency with neutral atoms also increases and
representation (Figure 5) of the mean value of electron the mean free path between two successive collisions
temperature obtained mentions three methods as a decreases, which shows that rather than gain of energy by
function of the discharge voltage at different constant the electrons from the electric field more and more energy
pressure . is transferred to the neutral species as a result of which Te
decreases. It is obvious from Figure 6 that electron density
It is observed that the electron temperature (Te) gradually increases on increasing the discharge voltage at low
increases with the increase in discharge voltage at a pressure. The electron density, however, decreases as
particular pressure. The increase in Te might be due to the pressure increases beyond a certain limit. On increasing
increase in kinetic energy of the electrons gained from the the voltage or pressure, there is an increase of ionizing
electric field (Naz et al., 2011; Kim, 2004). It is also clear activity inside the plasma during the inelastic collision
that there is decrease in Te with increase in pressure at a between electrons and neutral species due to the
constant voltage. The reason for the decrease in Te can be decrease in mean free path of the electrons or the increase
explained from the equation (7). The mean energy of the of kinetic energy of the electrons. As a result, more and
electron is given by, more energy is transferred to the neutral species and the
e e V electron temperature increases (Chung et al., 2001).
E = eEe = d
. . . (7)
Effect of Pressure and Discharge Voltage on Plasma Parameters in Air seeded Arc-plasma
Jha et al. 077

Figure 7: Variation of the Debye length with Figure 8: Variation of the plasma frequency with
discharge voltage at constant pressure discharge voltage at constant pressure

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Accepted 27 August, 2017

Citation: Jha VK, Mishra LN, Narayan B (2017). Effect of

Pressure and Discharge Voltage on Plasma Parameters in
Air seeded Arc-plasma. Journal of Physics and Astronomy
Research, 3(1): 074-078.

Copyright: 2017Jha et al. This is an open-access article

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Effect of Pressure and Discharge Voltage on Plasma Parameters in Air seeded Arc-plasma