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Discharge in Strongly Electronegative Gases


Volumetric Self-Sustained Discharge in Strongly Electronegative Gases and Possible Applications to Plasma-Based Technologies

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-PLS/Plasma Physics/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of General Physics named after A.M. Prokhorov RAS, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • University of Nebraska / College of Arts and Studies, USA, NE, Lincoln\nURA 0073/Universite Paris-Sud / Laboratoire de Physique dez Gaz et des Plasmas, France, Orsay\nFreie Universität Berlin / Institut für Chemie, Germany, Berlin

Project summary

Investigations performed in the GPI RAS have demonstrated that the volumetric self-sustained discharge developed in strongly electronegative gases looks like the self-initiating volumetric one (SID). This means that due to the processes of plasma self-organization, the discharge developing after initiation of the discharge gap expands perpendicular the applied electric field without any pre-ionization. The discharge represents a sequence of overlapping diffusion channels filling gradually the entire gap. The plasma of the discharge developed in electronegative gases is of wide use in modern technologies such as dry etching, for instance. Using such kind of discharge it is possible to initiate efficiently various gas lasers. Therefore, investigations into the physics of the self-initiating discharge and processes of self-organization of electronegative gases in plasma are very topical.

The ultimate aim of these investigations is to get an inside into the physics of SID developing in strongly electronegative gases and word out recommendations for using such discharges in various plasma technologies including creation of ecology-friendly industrial lasers.

The accomplishment of this objective would require a complex of investigations both of fundamental and application character. The basis of the fundamental investigations of the project consists of theoretical and experimental studies into the SID in electronegative gases. The principal attention will be paid to SIDs in fluorides, chlorides, and iodides as the most representative electronegative gases. The given investigations are expected to give an inside into the kinetics of “death and birth” of electrons in halogenides and this inside would be based on microscopic characteristics (cross section / rate of reactions) and give mechanisms of the plasma self-organization processes initiated by electric field.

The investigations would be focused on the following points:

  1. Experimental study into the dynamics of SID generation in various strongly electronegative gases including the case of a large population of upper levels induced by the laser.
  2. Electrical and optical measurements in a discharge plasma in combination with experimental and computer SID simulations to develop a mathematical model of SIDs in strongly electronegative gases.

The results of the fundamental investigations would constitute solutions to the following application problems:
  1. Getting experimental data on SID stability, generation voltage, and also on the effect of the surface state and materials of the electrodes upon the discharge homogeneity in various strongly electronegative gases.
  2. Selecting optimal electrode systems and electrical circuits igniting SIDs.

The whole set of these applied investigations would provide the basis to develop proposals for SID applications to plasma technologies of dry etching and thin film sedimentation, and to creation of systems igniting industrial gas lasers. Aside from this, some data on the efficiency of SID applications to different surface processing would be obtained. As a whole, the project accomplishment would open new directions into the physics of non-equilibrium systems self-organization.

The project execution is planned to involve foreign partners such as NIST, Universite Paris-Sud, University of Nebraska, Freie University Berlin. This partnership envisages regular exchange of information on current project status. In particular, it envisages discussions on the results obtained and joint work-seminars. All foreign partners would be supplied with the whole scope of necessary scientific and technical information acquired under the project.

The project would provide an opportunity for the participants to redirect their efforts to solution of civil tasks and thus to assist the application of the scientific and technical potential of the participating organizations to peaceful purposes. The work results would be published in periodics, proceedings, and other editions accessible by many scientists in the world and would be presented at international conferences, which would help more integration of Russian scientists into the world scientific community.


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