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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Propagation direction reversal of ionization zones in the transition between high and low current magnetron sputtering


Past research has revealed the propagation of dense, asymmetric ionization zones in both high and low current magnetron discharges. Here we report about the direction reversal of ionization zone propagation as observed with fast cameras. At high currents, zones move in the E B direction with velocities of 103 to 104 m/s. However at lower currents, ionization zones are observed to move in the opposite, the -E B direction, with velocities ~; 103 m/s. It is proposed that the direction reversal is associated with the local balance of ionization and supply of neutrals in the ionization zone.

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