Time-resolved ion energy distribution functions during a HiPIMS discharge with cathode voltage reversal

Zachary Jeckell, David E. Barlaz, Thomas Houlahan, Wolfgang Huber, Ian Haehnlein, Brian Jurczyk, David N. Ruzic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect on the ion energy distribution function (IEDF) of plasma produced during a high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) discharge as the pulse conditions are varied is reported. Pressure was varied from 0.67-2.00 Pa (5-15 mTorr), positive kick pulses up to 200 V tested with a constant 4 μs delay between negative and positive cycles. The results demonstrate that the resulting plasma during the positive cathode voltage reversal is the result of expansion through the largely neutral gas species between the end of the magnetic trap of the target and the workpiece. The plasma potential rises on similar time scale with the evolution of a narrow peak in the IEDF close to the applied bias. The peak of the distribution function remains narrow close to the applied bias irrespective of pulse length, and with only slight pressure dependence. One exception discovered is that the IEDF contains a broad high energy tail early in the kick pulse due to acceleration of ions present beyond the trap from the main pulse separate from the ionization front that follows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015605
JournalPhysica Scripta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • cathode reversal
  • ion energy distribution
  • PVD
  • sputtering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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