Effect of Si on DC arc plasma generation from Al-Cr and Al-Cr-Si cathodes used in oxygen
2017 (English)In: Journal of Applied Physics, ISSN 0021-8979, E-ISSN 1089-7550, Vol. 121, no 8, 083303Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Al2O3 alloyed with Cr is an important material for the tooling industry. It can be synthesized from an arc discharge using Al-Cr cathodes in an oxygen atmosphere. Due to formation of Al-rich oxide islands on the cathode surface, the arc process stability is highly sensitive to oxygen pressure. For improved stability, the use of Al0.70Cr0.25Si0.05 cathodes has previously been suggested, where Si may reduce island formation. Here, we have investigated the effect of Si by comparing plasma generation and thin film deposition from Al0.7Cr0.3 and Al0.7Cr0.25Si0.05 cathodes. Plasma ion composition, ion energies, ion charge states, neutral species, droplet formation, and film composition have been characterized at different O-2 flow rates for arc currents of 60 and 90 A. Si and related compounds are detected in plasma ions and in plasma neutrals. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis show that the cathode composition and the film composition are the same, with Si present in droplets as well. The effect of Si on the process stability, ion energies, and ion charge states is found to be negligible compared to that of the arc current. The latter is identified as the most relevant parameter for tuning the properties of the reactive discharge. The present work increases the fundamental understanding of plasma generation in a reactive atmosphere, and provides input for the choice of cathode composition and process parameters in reactive DC arc synthesis.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER INST PHYSICS , 2017. Vol. 121, no 8, 083303
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-136304DOI: 10.1063/1.4976862ISI: 000395289400006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-136304DiVA: diva2:1087980
Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council [621212-4368]; Knut and Alice Wallenberg ( KAW) Foundation; Swedish Government Strategic Research Area in Materials Science on Functional Materials at Linkoping University (Faculty Grant SFO Mat LiU) [2009 00971]2017-04-102017-04-102017-04-10