skip to main content


Title: Element- and charge-state-resolved ion energies in the cathodic arc plasma from composite AlCr cathodes in argon, nitrogen and oxygen atmospheres

The energy distribution functions of ions in the cathodic arc plasma using composite AlCr cathodes were measured as a function of the background gas pressure in the range 0.5 to 3.5 Pa for different cathode compositions and gas atmospheres. The most abundant aluminium ions were Al+ regardless of the background gas species, whereas Cr 2+ ions were dominating in Ar and N 2 and Cr + in O 2 atmospheres. The energy distributions of the aluminium and chromium ions typically consisted of a high-energy fraction due to acceleration in the expanding plasma plume from the cathode spot and thermalised ions that were subjected to collisions in the plasma cloud. The fraction of the latter increased with increasing background gas pressure. Atomic nitrogen and oxygen ions showed similar energy distributions as the aluminium and chromium ions, whereas the argon and molecular nitrogen and oxygen ions were formed at greater distance from the cathode spot and thus less subject to accelerating gradients. In addition to the positively charged metal and gas ions, negatively charged oxygen and oxygen-containing ions were observed in O 2 atmosphere. The obtained results are intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the ion energies and charge states inmore » the arc plasma of AlCr composite cathodes in different gas atmospheres as such plasmas are frequently used to deposit thin films and coatings.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Montanuniversitat Leoben (Austria); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. PLANSEE Composite Materials GmbH, Lechbruck am See (Germany)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Surface and Coatings Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 272; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0257-8972
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; AlCr; Cathodic arc; Ion energy distribution function; Composite cathode; Background gas
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1208606